Brian Steven Smith, 52, is accused of killing Kathleen J. Henry and Veronica Abouchuk
Content warning: This article contains disturbing descriptions of violence.
Jury selection is scheduled to start Monday in the trial of Brian Steven Smith, who is accused of killing two women and videotaping one of the murders.
Authorities accuse Smith, 52, of the murders of Kathleen J. Henry, 30, in Sept. 2019 and 52-year-old Veronica Abouchuk in 2017 or 2018. Both are Alaska Native women.
Smith became a suspect in the murders after a woman who was on a “date” with the accused killer stole a digital memory card from his vehicle that allegedly contained graphic photos and videos of Henry’s killing, which took place in a Marriott hotel in Anchorage, police said, per the Associated Press. Subsequently, the woman turned the memory card over to police.
“In my movies, everybody always dies,” states the voice in one of the videos, according to AP. “What are my followers going to think of me? People need to know when they are being serial-killed.”
The memory card, the woman told police, was labeled “homicide,” according to an affidavit of the criminal complaint obtained by PEOPLE.
The detectives began an investigation and discovered the card contained 39 images and 12 videos, per the complaint.
The gruesome images showed a woman lying on a floor naked next to a bed with her left eye bruised and swollen shut, with red ligature marks on her neck, according to the complaint.
In one of the videos, “the person filming was slapping and strangling the female with his right hand around her neck,” the complaint alleged. “The female was moaning and struggling to breathe.”
According to the complaint, the suspect had what police believed was an English-sounding accent, and after investigators reviewed the videos and images, “[they] recalled from a previous investigation a male with an accent named Brian Smith.”
Investigators discovered that Smith, a South African immigrant, had allegedly stayed at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott from Sept. 2 to Sept. 4, 2019.
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Henry’s remains were found near a highway south of Anchorage on Oct. 2.
After Smith was taken into custody, he allegedly told police about the murder of Abouchuk, the Anchorage Daily News reported, citing authorities.
Abouchuk’s remains were discovered near an old Eklutna Power Plant, according to Alaska News Source.
“With no prompting, he tells the troopers in the bathroom, ‘I’m going to make you famous,’” District Attorney Brittany Dunlop alleged at a hearing last week, per AP. “He comes back in and says ... ‘You guys got some more time? You want to keep talking?’ And then discloses this other murder.”
Smith has pleaded not guilty. His attorney could not be reached for comment.
The trial is scheduled to last three to four weeks in Anchorage.
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