SA man arrested for hotel murder in Alaska confesses to 2nd killing
A South African man accused of the torture and murder of an Alaskan woman in an Anchorage hotel in September – Brian Steven Smith – has been charged for the murder of a second woman.
According to the State of Alaska’s Attorney General, the 48-year-old - formerly of Queenstown in the Eastern Cape - has been indicted on 13 counts by a grand jury which include murder, sexual assault and evidence tampering.
Smith was held last week for the beating and murder of Kathleen Henry, whose body was dumped near the roadway down a secluded stretch of highway, south of the city.
PODCAST | South African accent led cops to murder suspect in Alaska
Days before her body was found, Alaskan police were called by a woman who, while walking on a busy anchorage street, picked up a memory card which contained a trove of pictures and video footage showing a naked woman being strangled to death in a hotel room.
Detectives were said to have identified Smith from another investigation, with the footage ultimately leading to his arrest.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Cori Mills said charges relating to the death of another woman, murdered some time in 2018, were proffered against Smith on Thursday this week.
“The two alleged incidents occurred over a year apart.
“Following the arrest of Smith for the murder of the first victim, the Anchorage Police Department conducted an interview.
“During the interview, Smith admitted to shooting another female victim between 2017 and 2018,” Mills said.
“According to the police officers, he provided the location of her body.
“Earlier this year, Alaska State Troopers recovered a skull with a gunshot wound from an area near the location identified by Smith,” she added.
Mills said the police probe into the hotel room murder suggested that Henry had been tortured.
“If convicted at trial and found to have subjected the first victim to substantial torture, the defendant will be sentenced to a mandatory 99 years of imprisonment,” Mills said.
The state’s bail memorandum, seen by TimesLIVE, provides chilling detail into Henry’s final moments through analysis of the footage found on the discarded flash drive which had been labelled “homicide at Midtown Marriot [the name of the hotel]”.
Video footage on the disk, time stamped between September 3 and 5, showed Henry’s repeated beating and rape.
The person filming pointed the camera at Henry while he slapped and strangled her, with the woman moaning and trying to scratch at his wrist as his grip tightened, the memorandum reads.
At one point in the footage, Smith is alleged to have said, “you need to f***ing die bitch…just f***ing die.”
It was his SA accent that linked him to the crime, with detectives remembering it from an unrelated investigation in which he was interviewed.
During an interview, he is said to have confessed to the murders and admitted to filming the slaying of Henry.