NATIONAL NEWS

South Africa man convicted in deaths of 2 Alaska Native women faces revocation of U.S. citizenship

Apr 19, 2024, 3:08 PM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Federal prosecutors want to revoke the U.S. citizenship of a South Africa man convicted of killing two Alaska Native women for allegedly lying on his naturalization application for saying he had neither killed nor hurt anyone.

Brian Steven Smith, 52, was convicted earlier this year in the deaths of the two women, narrating as he recorded one woman dying. That video was stored on a phone that was stolen from his pickup. The images were transferred to a memory card and later turned over to police by the person who took the phone.

Smith lied when he responded to questions on the naturalization application asking whether he had been involved in a killing or badly hurting or sexually assaulting someone, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Alaska said in a statement Friday.

Smith answered “no” to those questions, but prosecutors say he had committed the two murders that involved torture and sexual assault by the time he completed the application, officials said.

If convicted of illegally obtaining naturalization, his U.S. citizenship would be revoked. No court date has been set.

An email seeking comment sent to Smith’s public defender was not immediately returned.

Smith was convicted in the deaths of Kathleen Henry, 30, whose body was found weeks after Smith recorded her death in September 2019 at TownePlace Suites by Marriott, a hotel in midtown Anchorage where he worked.

Smith, who came to Alaska in 2014, became a naturalized citizen the same month Henry was killed.

The other victim was Veronica Abouchuk, who died in either 2018 or 2019. Smith told police that he picked her up while his wife was out of town. When she refused to shower, he shot her in the head and dumped her body north of Anchorage.

He told police where the body was left, and authorities later found a skull with a bullet wound there.

Smith was convicted Feb. 22 after the Anchorage jury deliberated less than two hours.

Smith’s sentencing was set for two consecutive Fridays, July 12 and July 19. Alaska does not have the death penalty.

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South Africa man convicted in deaths of 2 Alaska Native women faces revocation of U.S. citizenship