Brian Smith indicted on charges of murder, sexual assault & evidence tampering
A man accused of filming himself torturing and killing a woman in an Anchorage hotel room last month has been indicted on eight felony charges, including murder, sexual assault and evidence tampering.
Brian Steven Smith, 48, is currently the sole suspect in the murder of 30-year-old Kathleen Henry, according to Anchorage Police.
In addition to the indictment, the grand jury returned a special finding that Smith subjected Henry to "substantial physical torture."
He was arrested on Oct. 8 after Henry's remains were found at mile 108 of the Seward Highway on Oct. 2.
According to court documents, a woman called APD on Sept. 30 and said she found an SD card containing evidence of a crime.
When police met with the woman, she told them she found the SD card lying on the ground near 13th Avenue and Fairbanks Street in the Fairview neighborhood and that the card had photos and videos from Sept. 3 - 5 showing a man "beating" and "raping" a woman.
The criminal complaint reads:
"She described the male as having a foreign sounding voice. She believed that video had taken place at the midtown Marriott, as she had been there before and recognized the carpet pattern on the floor in the video."
Detectives reviewed the card that was labeled “Homicide at midtown Marriott.” There were 39 photos and 12 videos, the document states. The digital files show a man beating a woman and strangling her repeatedly, telling her to die and, at times, laughing while he did it.
The initial charging document did not include information about a sexual assault, and Smith was first arrested on a single charge of murder.
Now, a grand jury has indicted him on one count of first degree murder, two counts of second degree murder, two counts of second degree sexual assault, and three counts of tampering with physical evidence.
The murder and assault charges stem from actions alleged to have happened on Sept. 4, while the evidence tampering charges are dated Sept. 6.
The indictment describes the sexual assaults as non-consensual "hand to breast" and "hand to vagina" contact.
The charges of tampering with evidence allege Smith, "destroyed, mutilated, altered, suppressed, concealed, or removed physical evidence with intent to impair its verity or availability in an official proceeding or criminal investigation." Henry's body, bedding, and Smith's truck bed are referred to in the three counts.
Henry is listed as the victim, by her initials, K.J.H., for all eight of the charges.
The special finding attached to the indictment stating Smith subjected Henry to substantial physical torture was reached by a separate vote of the grand jury. At least 10 jurors voted in favor of the finding that is attached to the first degree murder charge.
APD detectives recognized Smith, an immigrant from South Africa, after watching the videos because of his "English-sounding" accent.
According to an APD spokesperson, Smith was already known to investigators because he was part of a different ongoing investigation. APD has declined to elaborate on the nature of that investigation, or say whether it involved violent crime.
Hotel records show Smith stayed at TownePlace Suites by Marriott from Sept. 2-4. Detectives matched photos from the memory card showing a partial license plate on a black pickup truck with the 1999 Ford Ranger pickup registered to Smith and his wife. Cell phone records confirmed he was in the area where Henry was found shortly after the last photo was taken.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is involved in the case. According to Special Agent Steve Forrest, "The FBI has provided and continues to provide investigative and technical assistance to the Anchorage Police Department."
Neither agency has commented on whether it is believed there could be more victims connected to Smith.
Smith is scheduled to be arraigned on the indicted charges in Anchorage Wednesday afternoon, according to online court records. He is currently being held on a $750,000 cash bail.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Smith was listed as the victim in court documents. This has been corrected.
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