close
close

A South African man convicted in the deaths of two Alaska Native women faces revocation of his U.S. citizenship

By: Mark Thiessen, Associated Press

FILE – Brian Steven Smith watches proceedings during the opening day of his double murder trial, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024, in Anchorage, Alaska. Federal prosecutors are seeking to revoke the U.S. citizenship of Smith, a South African man convicted of murdering two Alaska Native women, for allegedly lying on his naturalization application by saying he had not killed or hurt anyone. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Federal prosecutors are seeking to revoke the U.S. citizenship of a South African man convicted of killing two Alaska Native women, alleging he lied on his naturalization application by saying he had not killed anyone or hurt.

Brian Steven Smith, 52, was convicted of the two women’s deaths earlier this year as he told how he captured a dying woman. That video was stored on a phone stolen from his pickup. The images were transferred to a memory card and later handed over to the 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 murder, seriously hurting or sexually abusing 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, which 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 death of Kathleen Henry, 30, whose body was found weeks after Smith reported her death in September 2019 at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott, a downtown Anchorage hotel 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 2018 or 2019. Smith told police 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 had been left, and authorities later found a skull with a gunshot wound there.

Smith was convicted on February 22 after the Anchorage jury deliberated for less than two hours.

Smith’s sentencing was set for two consecutive Fridays, July 12 and July 19. There is no death penalty in Alaska.