SA man guilty after he killed Alaskan woman, it was filmed

Henry

The South African Brian Steven Smith was found guilty in a court in Alaska of killing a woman in 2019 and filming the gruesome murder on his mobile phone.

He was also found guilty of murdering a second woman from Alaska whose body was found earlier but initially misidentified.

The Independent reports a jury in Anchorage deliberated for less than two hours Thursday after a three-week trial before unanimously deciding Smith’s fate. Smith was finally found guilty of 14 charges, including the murder of Kathleen Henry in 2019, the murder of Veronica Abouchuk in 2018 or 2019, as well as several charges of sexual assault.

The 52-year-old man from South Africa showed no reaction in court in Anchorage on Thursday and stared out in front of him as the judge read out the jury’s verdict. Since the death penalty is not carried out in Alaska, Smith will likely be sentenced to life in prison.

He will be sentenced in July.

Smith was arrested in 2019 after a woman stole his mobile phone from his truck and discovered the gruesome footage from 2019 on it.

Valerie Casler, a sex worker who would later become a key witness in the trial, at the time copied the gruesome footage onto a memory card and handed it over to the police. However, over the years, Casler has adjusted her story about how she came into possession of the material.

She initially claimed she picked up the card, marked “Murder at the Midtown Marriott” in reference to Henry’s murder in a hotel run by Marriott International. She later claimed she stole the card from Smith’s van during what she described as a “date”. However, the court would later hear that Casler had stolen the phone from Smith’s truck.

It was when she recharged the mobile phone that she found the 46 photos and one video of Henry’s gruesome murder on it. Casler transferred the footage to a memory card she stole from a department store and labeled the card.

The graphic footage was only shown to the jury during the trial. However, the sound of the video, in which Henry can be heard gasping for breath before her death, could be heard in the court gallery.

Smith’s face does not appear on the video, but his British-sounding accent can be heard on the recording.

According to the prosecutors, Smith drove around with Henry’s body in the back of his pickup truck for two days before finally dumping her body along a highway south of Anchorage.

Upon his arrest, Smith confessed to police that he also killed Abouchuk.

Smith picked her up in Anchorage while his wife was away. He said she smelled bad, but Abouchuk refused to take a shower when he asked. He became upset, took a pistol from the garage and shot her in the head before dumping her body north of Anchorage.

Smith’s wife, Stephanie Bissland of Anchorage, attended the three-week trial.

“He was very good to me, but he had another life, I think,” she said, adding that his problems were probably exacerbated by alcohol abuse.

Bissland further told that her husband was in a very dark place after his arrest. “He got better,” she insists, however. She plans to write to him often and visit him when he is transferred to a prison. Divorce is not currently being considered. “I made my promise,” she explained after the verdict.

RNews previously reported that Smith moved to Anchorage in 2014 and is originally from Queenstown in the Eastern Cape.