Gruesome Evidence Unveiled in Double Murder Trial as SD Card Reveals Chilling Videos

A double murder trial is set to begin this week in Anchorage, Alaska, as gruesome photos and videos found on a stolen SD card become key evidence. The card, taken by a woman with a criminal history, contained chilling footage of a woman being brutally beaten and strangled at a Marriott hotel. The voice of the attacker, speaking in a strong accent, can be heard urging the victim to die.

The woman who stole the SD card turned it over to the police more than four years ago. Authorities quickly recognized the voice on the videos as that of Brian Steven Smith, a South Africa native with a prior criminal record. Smith, now 52, has pleaded not guilty to 14 charges, including first- and second-degree murder, sexual assault, and tampering with evidence.

The victims, Kathleen Henry, 30, and Veronica Abouchuk, 52, were both Alaska Native women who had experienced homelessness. Hailing from small villages in western Alaska, Henry from Eek and Abouchuk from Stebbins, their tragic deaths have sent shockwaves through the community.

According to court documents, Henry was the victim whose death was recorded at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott in midtown Anchorage. Smith had been registered to stay at the hotel from September 2 to September 4, 2019. The disturbing images on the SD card were time-stamped at around 1 a.m. on September 4. The last images on the card, taken on September 6, showed Henry’s body in the back of a black pickup truck.

Location data from Smith’s phone placed him in the area where Henry’s body was eventually found, along the Seward Highway south of Anchorage. During police interrogation, Smith voluntarily confessed to another murder, identifying Abouchuk from a photo and providing the location of her remains along the Old Glenn Highway north of Anchorage.

Smith’s defense attorney, Timothy Ayer, attempted to exclude the SD card’s evidence from the trial, arguing that its provenance and authenticity could not be established. However, Judge Kevin Saxby ruled that the woman who turned in the card could testify about her possession of it until she handed it over to the police, and the recordings could be properly authenticated.

The trial, expected to last three to four weeks, commenced with jury selection on Monday. Prosecutors had initially suggested closing the courtroom to shield the public from the gruesome videos, but Judge Saxby has confirmed that the trial will remain open, with precautions in place to prevent the explicit content from being seen by those in the gallery or watching the livestream.

As the trial unfolds, the families of Kathleen Henry and Veronica Abouchuk remain silent, grieving the loss of their loved ones. Brian Steven Smith’s wife, Stephanie Bissland, and his sister, acting as a family spokesperson in South Africa, have declined to comment until after the trial.

This chilling case serves as a stark reminder of the vulnerability faced by Alaska Native women, particularly those who have experienced homelessness. District Attorney Brittany Dunlop emphasized the importance of treating these victims with dignity and respect, acknowledging the impact this case has on the local community.

As the trial progresses, the shocking evidence found on the stolen SD card will undoubtedly play a crucial role in determining the fate of Brian Steven Smith, a man who arrived in Alaska in 2014 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen the same month Kathleen Henry was killed.

 

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

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