Brian Steven Smith: Alaska man convicted of murdering 2 women, one of whom he recorded in a graphic video, say prosecutors

Brian Steven Smith: Alaska man convicted of murdering 2 women, one of whom he recorded in a graphic video, say prosecutors
Brian Smith admitted to police that he fatally shot Veronica Abouchuk (R) as she rested on his couch (YouTube/Court TV, Facebook/Kathleen Henry and Anchorage Police Department )

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA: It took only less than two hours for jurors in Anchorage, Alaska, to convict a man of separately murdering two women, one of whom he recorded in protracted and graphic video, according to prosecutors, The Anchorage Daily News reports. 

“In my movies, everybody always dies,” a male individual, whose face did not appear in the footage, said to the beaten, dying Kathleen Jo Henry, 30, according to The Associated Press. “What are my followers going to think of me? People need to know when they are being serial-killed,” he added in the video.

The voice belonged to Brian Steven Smith

Prosecutors said the voice heard on the video belongs to Brian Steven Smith, a 53-year-old originally from South Africa. He carried out the sadistic murder on September 4, 2019, at a local hotel. The killer denied remembering that he killed Henry, but he acknowledged seeing his stomach, hand, arm, and foot in the murder pictures and video.

“I am convinced I have done this,” he said, adding "That is me. I’m not denying that.”



 

Brian Steven Smith killed the second victim in 2018

Smith also admitted to police that he fatally shot another woman about a year before as she rested on his couch and dumped her body off the Old Glenn Highway. Police identified this second victim as Veronica Abouchuk, 52. Police determined Smith killed her sometime in August 2018.



 

How did Brian Steven Smith's brutal crimes come to light?

A key witness, Valerie Casler, testified she discovered the incriminating video and pictures after stealing Smith’s phone from his truck, according to Anchorage NBC affiliate KTUU. According to The Anchorage Daily News, Smith’s defense attacked her credibility, calling her a “comfortable and constant liar” whose story changed over time.



 

The victim initially lied about how she found the evidence

As Casler reportedly testified, she originally lied about how she found the evidence. At first, she had claimed to find an SD card labeled “homicide at midtown Marriott” on the street.

She told the court, however, that she had actually transferred the material from Smith’s phone to the card and did the labeling herself. Casler said she had lied about the circumstances because she did not want to be charged with theft or attempted prostitution.

Brian Steven Smith preyed on vulnerable Alaska Native women

Authorities said that Smith preyed on vulnerable Alaska Native women. He would often go to the Brother Francis Shelter and a grocery store in the Anchorage neighborhood of Fairview to pick them up.

Casler reportedly testified that when she met Smith, she was living in a tent behind Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church. He picked her up in his truck from behind the Carrs store, and they drove around town together while she drank flavored vodka from a Gatorade bottle. Then Smith went to a Shell gas station ATM to get money.

What charges does Brian Steven Smith face?

Jurors convicted Smith of 14 counts, including two counts of murder in the first degree, sexual assault in the second degree, tampering with evidence, and misconduct to hide the evidence.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 12 and 19. He faces 30 to 99 years behind bars for killing Abouchuk, but will get the mandatory maximum of 99 years in prison for Henry’s death because jurors determined that there was an aggravating factor: He subjected her to substantial physical torture.

Abouchuk’s sister, Rena Sapp, pointed to the sky after the verdict, according to the Anchorage Daily News. “My sister Veronica and Kathleen — it’s their day today,” she said.

Share this article:  Brian Steven Smith: Alaska man convicted of murdering 2 women, one of whom he recorded in a graphic video, say prosecutors