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Crime & Courts

Defendant in hotel killing indicted on additional charges; FBI ‘actively’ assisting investigation

Brian Steven Smith is arraigned Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019 on a charge of first-degree murder at the Anchorage jail courtroom. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

The man charged in a brutal slaying of a 30-year-old Anchorage woman has been indicted on additional charges as a wide-ranging investigation into his history continues to play out.

Brian Steven Smith, 48, was originally charged with a single count of murder in the death of Kathleen Jo Henry, who was originally from Eek but had been living in Anchorage.

The indictment handed up by an Anchorage grand jury on Monday adds seven additional charges against Smith, including sexual assault and evidence tampering. It also includes a special finding that the killing involved torture.

Police have said they found a digital media card containing video and images of Smith beating and strangling Henry.

Officials have not said whether Smith is believed to have other victims. Court documents filed this week indicate an active, wide-ranging investigation that may extend beyond Alaska.

The FBI is “actively involved” in the investigation, said special agent Steve Forrest.

“We are providing investigative and technical assistance,” Forrest said.

Separately, an Anchorage judge ordered the 19 search warrants filed in the case sealed.

“This homicide investigation is ongoing and involves the cooperation of numerous local, state and federal law enforcement agencies,” wrote assistant district attorney Heather Nobrega in a filing asking that the warrants be sealed.

Release to the public would compromise the investigation in Alaska and “possibly in other jurisdictions.”

Documents filed in court list some of the new criminal acts charged as happening on Sept. 4 — the date of the killing, according to police. The evidence tampering, which the documents say involved Henry’s body, bedding and a truck bed, happened on Sept. 6, the date detectives say Smith discarded her body south of Anchorage, near the Seward Highway.

The victim in all eight counts in the indictment is listed as K.J.H.

Smith, an immigrant from South Africa, has lived in Alaska since 2013. He is being held at the Anchorage jail.

Reporter Jeff Parrott assisted in reporting this story.