Alaska Memory Card Murders: AK v. Brian Steven Smith

Posted at 7:25 PM, February 22, 2024

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Court TV) — A jury deliberated for several hours on Thursday before finding a South African native guilty of the murders of two Alaska Native women, one of whom could be seen in video and photos recorded by the killer.

Brian Steven Smith sits in a courtroom

FILE – Brian Steven Smith sits in a courtroom while waiting for his arraignment to start in Anchorage, Alaska, Oct. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)

Brian Steven Smith, 52, pleaded not guilty to 14 charges, including first and second-degree murder, sexual assault and tampering with evidence, in the deaths of 52-year-old Veronica Abouchuk and 30-year-old Kathleen Henry. Both women were from small villages in western Alaska and had experienced homelessness.

Smith was connected to the murders in September 2019 when Valerie Casler turned in an SD card that she initially told police she found on the street. After assurance from police that they would not hold her criminally responsible, the woman admitted to stealing a phone from the center console of a man’s truck while he was allegedly getting money out of an ATM to pay for a “date” with her, then transferring its contents to the SD card she gave to police.

The memory card contained gruesome photos and videos spanning five days, including the brutal beating and strangulation of a woman police later identified as Henry. In the video, the attacker could be heard speaking in a thick South African accent before sneaking Henry’s blanket-covered body outside on a luggage cart, saying,

“In my movies, everybody always dies. What are my followers going to think of me? People need to know when they are being serial killed.”

Court documents said police recognized the voice as that of Brian Steven Smith, a South African native they knew from a previous investigation.

While being interrogated for Henry’s death, Smith reportedly confessed to the murder of Abouchuk.