A killer filmed a brutal strangulation, police say. A woman found the video on the ground.

What would you have done?

  • Opened it then called the police

    Votes: 108 63.5%
  • Take it to the police without opening it

    Votes: 41 24.1%
  • Noped out of the whole thing and kept it moving.

    Votes: 21 12.4%

  • Total voters
    170

GrapeApes

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
2,073
The woman had no idea what was on the memory card she was about to access. She recently found it on the ground near her neighborhood grocery store in Anchorage and was curious about its contents — especially when she noticed its unusual label: “Homicide.”

Then, she opened it.

The horrifying photos and videos she found inside were “instrumental” in the arrest of Brian Steven Smith, 48, Anchorage police said Wednesday. Smith is accused of strangling and beating an unidentified woman in a hotel room early last month and leaving her body near a stretch of highway south of the city, according to a news release.
Smith was arrested Tuesday and charged with first-degree murder. He appeared in court Wednesday, and a judge set his bail at a combined $750,000 cash bond, the Anchorage Daily News reported. It is not clear whether Smith has an attorney.
When investigators looked into the files, they found 39 photos and 12 videos that allegedly show a naked woman with long dark hair, who appears to be a native Alaskan, being assaulted and strangled by a man in a hotel room, the Daily News reported, citing an arrest affidavit. Police said the SD card was labeled “Homicide at midtown Marriott.”

The man could be seen on video laughing as he choked the woman, at one point even stepping on her throat, the affidavit said. In another clip, he yelled at the woman to “just … die,” speaking in what sounded like a foreign accent, according to police documents. The woman fought back, “attempting to scratch at the man’s wrist with her right hand to get him to stop,” authorities said. But her efforts were futile.
Meanwhile, detectives reviewing the gruesome footage recognized the man’s accent, the Associated Press reported. It sounded like Smith, whom they had crossed paths with during another investigation, according to the AP. Authorities said Smith is originally from South Africa, adding that he allegedly shot the photos and video himself.
It wasn’t long before more evidence against Smith started piling up, the affidavit said.
 

El Jefe

Member
Aug 15, 2019
398
California
I get filming this shit is some sick fantasy for these type of people, but it seems really counterproductive to do so. And to label it too. Big dummy.

Fuck him.
 

Dr. Zoidberg

Member
Oct 25, 2017
982
Decapod 10
If I'm honest I would never have picked up the memory card or inserted it into my computer. That's a big trick hackers use to get inside of corporate firewalls and shit. I would probably have kept on walking. But I'm glad the murderer was caught in this case.
 

ChrisR

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,102
Well...this seems like an open and shut case. I wonder if the prosecution team will try for the death penalty?
Alaska doesn't have the death penalty.

And I wouldn't pick ANYTHING up or hell even be walking around that Carrs on Gambell, let alone putting a random SD card into any computer I owned.
 
Oct 25, 2017
6,339
He must have wanted to be discovered. Psychopath.

I wonder if the woman had been reported missing by family or friends.
 

GC-

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,135
Considering an old hacker trick is to just leave infected media laying around there is no chance in me picking it up in the first place.
 

Landy828

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,358
Clemson, SC
I probably would have opened it or went straight to the police. No way I'd "nope out".

I'd open it and probably stop at the thumbnails.
 

adj_noun

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
8,815
I have a general life rule that if I find things on the street labeled Homicide or Bank Robbery: Detailed Instructions or Proof of My Crimes Volume 3 (of 20) I just hand 'em over to the cops.

I sure as hell wouldn't open it.
 

Mr. X

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,256
Sounds like a snuff film he lost by mistake. Thank God he was found and arrested instead of continuing.
 

BreakAtmo

Member
Nov 12, 2017
3,935
I get filming this shit is some sick fantasy for these type of people, but it seems really counterproductive to do so. And to label it too. Big dummy.

Fuck him.
I mean, murdering someone or even just committing any crime is counter-productive. These people do this shit largely because they're compelled to on some level.
 

Deception

Member
Nov 15, 2017
6,029
R.I.P. to the victim but this dude must have wanted to be caught.

Reminds me of this:

Should have left a file with his SSN and address on the card as well.
 

vypek

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,699
Given the label I'd drop it off with police. I'd never put it into any computer I care about or use. If it was non-marked maybe I'd just leave it where it was.
 

kmfdmpig

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
3,377
What's worrisome is that it's labelled Homicide at midtown Marriot, which certainly implies that it wasn't the only one.
 

Nameless

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,367
What a horrific story. Glad they were able to track that scum down.

Also yeah, I'm not even trying to read that memory card in the first place. Would assume it's malware and/or child porn.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,954
New York City
I've picked up an SD card on the ground before, in Spanish Harlem. It was a 4 GB one, from around the time when they were about $30 - $40 each and I didn't really have money to buy one like that.

I was a bit sad because it had some family photos on it that I was sure the family missed. I still have those photos stored somewhere.

It's very interesting to hear from Dr. Zoidberg above that that's a way hackers get into corporate networks, though.
 

Just_a_Mouse

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,921
He laughed as he was murdering her? There's no way this sick pos hasn't killed before. The description of the attack has me shook, true evil really does exist in this world.
 

Maintenance

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,680
No fucking way I would touch or open that thing, that's asking for malware and your fingerprints on a murder case.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,161
Oh, I may have misread that... the SD card was physically labelled "Homicide"? Yeah, that's going straight to the cops.
 

ChrisR

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,102
is it, really? there was a pretty grim article a while back about a teacher being raped that painted a pretty grim picture of at least some parts of the state.
Parts of the bigger cities aren't bad, but the rest of the state is a beautiful looking shithole, and it's only getting worse. Can't wait until I leave sometime next year hopefully.
 

SchrodingerC

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,924
Wow, a legit snuff film out in the open. Just reading the description makes me sick. Glad the guy was caught since it sounds like he enjoys the suffering and killing.
 

Alucrid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,175
on one hand, fuck opening random memory devices. on the other hand i wonder if the police would have taken it as seriously without the woman being able to vouch for its contents
 

game-biz

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,196
Jesus. On a subconscious level he must have wanted to be caught. I know most psychopaths probably don’t naturally feel bad for their murders or their victims, but do they normally suffer psychologically? In the sense that they know they don’t belong in society; that what they do is strictly wrong? It would make sense that they would want to get caught/die if they hate themselves.

Anyway, tragic stuff. They don’t know the woman off the bat, so I’m wondering if she was just a random homeless person or prostitute. Which would make it easier for him to get away with other murders he probably committed in the past. At any rate, glad the monster will live the rest of his life in prison.
 

Mulciber

Member
Aug 22, 2018
3,443
I would immediately assume it was a hacking attempt. I think I would have laughed, thought "yeah, right, fucko," and kept walking.

However, now that I've read this thread, I am 100% sure I'd call the cops instead.
 

Eros

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,752
I'll take it to the police without watching it. Watching a video of a murder would fuck me up, as I've seen one before out of curiosity. That curiosity is satisfied after one video and I don't ever need to see that kind of thing on purpose again.
 

JetmanJay

Member
Nov 1, 2017
1,189
Goddamn. So if he wouldn’t have dropped that memory card on the ground would the police have even known a murder was committed or know he was involved? The article mentioned they were investigating him for something else so gonna assume they were on his trail before the full video was placed in their lap?
 

ChrisR

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,102
Goddamn. So if he wouldn’t have dropped that memory card on the ground would the police have even known a murder was committed or know he was involved? The article mentioned they were investigating him for something else so gonna assume they were on his trail before the full video was placed in their lap?
The body was found before the video card was. They also pinged his cellphone to the area the body was discovered at. I'd assume they would have got there eventually, but the video makes it open and shut. The video also might help to identify the murder victim.
 

JetmanJay

Member
Nov 1, 2017
1,189
The body was found before the video card was. They also pinged his cellphone to the area the body was discovered at. I'd assume they would have got there eventually, but the video makes it open and shut. The video also might help to identify the murder victim.
Gotcha. Ok - as horrifying as this is, would be even more so if the law enforcement was completely in the dark on the murder itself and the poor woman in the video.
 

Dynomutt

The Fallen
Nov 11, 2017
1,055
He laughed while he did it. it's crazy people like this exist. Damn monster. He was born to do evil nothing else. Put him under the jail.
 
OP
OP
GrapeApes

GrapeApes

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
2,073
Anyway, tragic stuff. They don’t know the woman off the bat, so I’m wondering if she was just a random homeless person or prostitute. Which would make it easier for him to get away with other murders he probably committed in the past. At any rate, glad the monster will live the rest of his life in prison.
Victim identified
 

DonMigs85

Member
Oct 28, 2017
2,023
I mean, if I keep my PC off the internet and run a virus scan on it first an SD card shouldn't do much harm right? USB devices are riskier
 
What's worrisome is that it's labelled Homicide at midtown Marriot, which certainly implies that it wasn't the only one.
I’d pretty much guarantee, based on the described behaviour, that this wasn’t his first murder.


The body was found before the video card was. They also pinged his cellphone to the area the body was discovered at. I'd assume they would have got there eventually, but the video makes it open and shut. The video also might help to identify the murder victim.
Per the article they had only crossed paths with him in the context of a prior investigation, so without the video it’s questionable they’d have ever made the connection.
 

Z-Beat

Member
Oct 25, 2017
14,894
How would I know what was on it without opening it? Is the CD/USB Drive/tape labeled "Murder"?

Edit: Read past the poll options. That's horrifying. And he actually DID label it Homicide? This is all kinds of fucked up
 

ChrisR

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,102
Per the article they had only crossed paths with him in the context of a prior investigation, so without the video it’s questionable they’d have ever made the connection.
Not saying it would be 100%, but his cell phone was pinged in the area the body was discovered. Working back to the time of death they would have a decent pool of phones to work with. And if she was still wrapped in the hotel sheets it would be another thing that could tie her back to the room he had rented for the night.

Again, not 100%, but this dude doesn't seem to be the brightest bulb to begin with, and probably would have slipped up down the road. The thing that pisses me off is what was he under investigation for to begin with, and if it was something serious, why was he a free man when the murder took place?
 

GaimeGuy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,447
I've picked up an SD card on the ground before, in Spanish Harlem. It was a 4 GB one, from around the time when they were about $30 - $40 each and I didn't really have money to buy one like that.

I was a bit sad because it had some family photos on it that I was sure the family missed. I still have those photos stored somewhere.

It's very interesting to hear from Dr. Zoidberg above that that's a way hackers get into corporate networks, though.
It's how Stuxnet was deployed to Iran, too.