Crime & Courts

A call for help didn’t save a Mat-Su woman. Now her husband is charged with murder.

A Wasilla woman called Alaska State Troopers for help early on New Year's Day saying she had locked herself in the bathroom and was afraid of her husband.

About three hours later, Amy Smith, 37, was dead. It was a violent end to a relationship marked by violence, according to court documents. Her husband, Anthony Von Smith, 38, is charged with first-degree murder and, in an added charge, misdemeanor domestic violence assault.

Now troopers are reviewing their own actions.

"In addition to the ongoing criminal investigation, AST is conducting a comprehensive review of our initial response to this residence," troopers said in an online post Wednesday afternoon. Efforts to speak with troopers on what happened in that first visit were unsuccessful late Wednesday afternoon.

A detailed criminal complaint filed in court Wednesday outlines some of the recent troubles in the home.

The couple lived in a split-level home on West Schulz Drive, an area between Wasilla and Big Lake. Amy Smith's mother told troopers the marriage was "volatile." Anthony wasn't allowed in her residence in Anchorage, she said, according to a trooper statement filed with the complaint.

At 2:18 a.m. Monday, troopers responded to a 911 call from Amy Smith at the home, an online dispatch says.


In the call, which was recorded, Amy says she locked herself in the bathroom because Anthony was "being aggressive," according to the statement by Sgt. Tony Wegrzyn.

Anthony was suffering mental problems and she was afraid of him, she told the 911 dispatcher. He was "chest bumping" her and when he did that in the past it turned into a physical assault, she said. She was afraid he would become violent again that night.

"She followed that statement up with saying she didn't want Anthony arrested; she just wanted Anthony to 'chill out,' " the trooper document said.

The report doesn't say what troopers did at that point.

In Alaska, a state law says law enforcement officers "shall arrest" individuals in cases with enough evidence of domestic violence.

An online database of court records shows Anthony Smith has been convicted of domestic violence assault at least twice, including in 2015, when Amy — then Amy Moore — first sought a protective order against him. Several people have gone to court seeking protection from him over the years, court records show.

The new trooper report suggests the situation in the marriage was escalating.

Troopers had been to their home Dec. 4 and again Dec. 24 "for welfare checks because family members were concerned about Amy's welfare because of Anthony's aggressive behavior," the sworn statement says.

On Monday, a second call for help came at 4:54 a.m. Anthony Smith said his wife wasn't breathing and her lips were blue, the trooper statement said. She needed an ambulance. He also said she had fallen down the stairs, troopers said.

The first troopers arrived at 5 a.m. Medics were trying to save Amy but couldn't. At 5:33 a.m., she was pronounced dead.

An autopsy Tuesday determined that Amy had been strangled, troopers said. She had marks on her neck and small lacerations that looked like fingernail marks. She also had a large, fresh bruise on the side of her face, an abrasion on her forehead and fibers under a fingernail, trooper investigators found.

Smith made a court appearance Wednesday. He is jailed on $250,000 bail and a requirement for a third-party custodian, according to troopers.

When the trooper sergeant arrived at the home Monday, the only vehicle in the driveway was a 2002 Ford Mustang registered to Amy. It was so full of personal items that the only empty space was the driver's seat.

Troopers later learned that Amy had packed her car intending to leave her husband the next day.

Lisa Demer

Lisa Demer was a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Dispatch News. Among her many assignments, she spent three years based in Bethel as the newspaper's western Alaska correspondent. She left the ADN in 2018.