Man accused of documenting woman’s killing pleads not guilty

Brian Steven Smith, 48, is arraigned on charges of first-degree murder in Anchorage Jail Court on Oct. 9, 2019. (Photo by Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media)

A man accused of documenting the killing of a woman on a camera memory card has pleaded not guilty.

Brian Steven Smith didn’t speak during an arraignment that lasted about a minute Wednesday. A public defender entered his pleas for him.

Smith faces charges of murder, sexual assault and evidence tampering in the death of 30-year-old Kathleen Henry.

A grand jury, in a special finding attached to a first-degree murder count, said it found that Smith had subjected Henry to “substantial physical torture.”

Related: Anchorage police: Homicide video victim identified, suspect charged with murder

Her body was found near the highway south of Anchorage Oct. 2. A few days earlier, a woman walking in Anchorage found a memory card titled, “Homicide at midtown Marriott.” Police say the card had 39 photos and 12 videos. The videos show a man beating and strangling a woman, telling her to die and laughing.

The man’s accent on the tapes helped lead police to Smith, who is from South Africa.

Anchorage television station KTVA reports the FBI is providing investigative and technical assistance in the investigation.