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Quinhagak resident charged with woman’s murder

By KTVA CBS 11 News 12:48 PM February 25, 2014

Harold Smith, 26, faces charges of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence.

ANCHORAGE – A Quinhagak man was charged with murder Monday in connection with the death of 25-year-old Lisa Johnson.

Johnson’s body was discovered Feb. 3 off of a trail near the end of a new runway in the Western Alaska community of 700. Alaska State Troopers said they responded to the scene along with crime scene technicians and members of the Alaska Bureau of Investigation.

According to a criminal complaint, phone records led investigators to 26-year-old Harold Smith. A preliminary autopsy revealed Johnson had likely been strangled and her eyes showed signs of hemorrhage.

Smith was interviewed about her death Feb. 24 then arrested on counts of first-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence, troopers said.

Smith allegedly killed Johnson during an altercation, troopers said, then moved her body to the end of the runway and attempted to hide it with brush.

In an interview with authorities, Smith said Johnson visited his residence looking to buy a gram of marijuana, according to charges.

Smith said he didn’t have any pot to sell, charges say. He said she then bit him on the chest and he shoved her out the door.

Johnson fell down stairs, hitting her head on at 2×4 connected to the stairs, Smith said. He checked her neck and felt no pulse, according to charges.

Smith said he panicked and hid Johnson’s body under his house. Later he said he used his father’s sled to move her body to the runway where she was later found, charges say.

Smith said he took Johnson’s clothes, his clothes and snowmachine parts to a dump and burned them. Later, he said, he also burned the sled he used to move her body.

Snowmachine tracks “possibly pulling a sled” were spotted about 30 feet away from where Jonhson’s body was found, charges say.

Troopers said Smith is currently being held without bail at the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center while the investigation continues.

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