Murder charge after videos of woman being strangled found on memory card in Alaska
A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after footage of a woman being strangled was found on a memory card discovered lying in a street.
Brian Steven Smith, 48, from Anchorage, Alaska, was charged with killing the unidentified woman, who is believed to have died in a hotel room.
Police say human remains found by the side of a road on 2 October are those of the woman.
They are still trying to identify her and her how she died.
In one of the 12 videos on the SD card, labelled “Homicide at midtown Marriott”, the woman is seen being strangled.
A man’s voice can be heard saying “just … die”, according to charging documents, which said the man “had some sort of an English sounding accent when he spoke”.
Another clip shows the woman fighting back “attempting to scratch at the man’s wrist with her right hand to get him to stop” as he pressed into her neck with his right hand, the New York Times reported.
In another video, the man stamped on the woman’s neck with his right foot, swearing and saying that she needed to die.
Other clips showed the man using a wire or cord on the victim, who struggled to breathe as he “strangled her more and laughed about it”, the newspaper said.
The last date for the images on the card was 6 September at 1:12 am.
At around the same time, mobile phone records place Smith near to where the remains were found, police said.
Investigators found he booked a room in a local hotel between 2-4 September whose carpet matched that in the footage early last month.
Among 39 pictures discovered on the SD card are images showing the woman under a blanket on a hotel luggage cart near a truck and face down in the back of a truck.
Mr Smith owns a 1999 Ford Ranger pickup truck with his wife, according to prosecutors.
A woman called police on 30 September to say she had found an SD card containing a video of a murder near a shop in Fairview, north of Anchorage city centre.
Two days later officers were told human remains had been found outside the city, about 18 miles from the hotel where the videos and pictures were believed to have been taken.
Initially, detectives “had two investigations going on”, said MJ Thim, a spokesman for the Anchorage Police Department.
The woman in the videos and pictures had dark hair, the charging document said, the same as that on the body.
Smith, originally from South Africa, was arrested on Tuesday at Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage and is being held on bail of $500,000 (£408,000).
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