UPDATE: The Body Of Pediatriic Oncologist Dr. Melissa Ketunuti Found By Her Dog Walker, Bound and Set On Fire Inside Her Basement~ Exterminator, Jason Smith Found Guilty Of 1st Degree Murder & Related Offenses Faces Mandatory Life Without Parole

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Normal UPDATE: The Body Of Pediatriic Oncologist Dr. Melissa Ketunuti Found By Her Dog Walker, Bound and Set On Fire Inside Her Basement~ Exterminator, Jason Smith Found Guilty Of 1st Degree Murder & Related Offenses Faces Mandatory Life Without Parole

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:47 pm


By Richard Dool
updated 7:26 PM EST, Tue January 22, 2013

A pediatrician in Philadelphia was murdered inside her own home. Dr. Melissa Ketunuti was found dead in the basement of her home in Center City, Philadelphia. The young doctor’s body was found by a dog walker. Police say Dr. Ketunuti was strangled with a rope. She was face down on the floor with her hands and feet tied behind her and she had been set on fire.

Police say there were no signs of a forced entry and no sign of sexual assault. They are looking for any information that could help them find the killer. If you have any information that could help them please call the Philadelphia Police at 215-686-TIPS

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Last edited by Wrapitup on Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:44 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Normal Police: Doctor burned in Center City likely strangled

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:53 pm

CENTER CITY - January 22, 2013 (WPVI) -- Philadelphia police say the doctor who was found burned inside the basement of a home in Center City on Monday appeared to have been strangled.

Police say 35-year-old Melissa Ketunuti was found in the basement of her home on the 1700 block of Naudain Street.

She had been hogtied and strangled with a belt around her neck and then set on fire.

Ketunuti's case of death appeared to be strangulation, but police are awaiting the results of an autopsy for the definitive cause of death.

When asked if there were any signs of sexual assault, Capt. James Clark of the Homicide Unit said during a news conference on Tuesday morning that while they were still awaiting those autopsy results, there were no immediate signs of sex assault.

Clark also said there were no suspects or a motive yet in this case.

Police questioned Ketunuti's boyfriend this morning and then brought him to the house this afternoon.

The police say, at this point, he is not a suspect.

Police are re-tracing the victim's steps from Monday morning, saying she can be seen on surveillance video and investigators have several receipts from that time.

They were looking for signs that someone might have been following her.

Clark said there was no sign of forced entry.

"We don't know if she walked in on individuals inside of her property; we don't know if individuals forced her inside of property," Clark said.

Clark also said it is not clear if the victim knew the killer or not.

Ketunuti, who lived alone, was a doctor taking part in a pediatric fellowship at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

"She dedicated her whole life to being a doctor and helping kids with cancer. It's very, very unfortunate that she died in this manner," said Clark.

Ketunuti was found in the basement of 1728 Naudain Street around 12:30 p.m. Monday by a pet walker who came to pick up her dog.

Firefighters and police were called to the scene.

"They go in the basement. They find a female - her body's on fire. The fire department puts water on her to put the fire out," Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

Neighbor Victor Pisani says Ketunuti lived at the home for a little over three years.

Another neighbor of the victim, Pamela Rimato-Tirone, is taking care of her black Labrador Retriever.
Rimato-Tirone said she walked by the home just 10 minutes before the body was found and nothing seemed suspicious.

"Everything was fine. I saw a guy going to visit [the home next door] because someone passed away, they were holding Shiva there today, everything was fine," Rimato-Tirone said.

Police remind the public that there is a $20,000 reward for arrest and conviction in any homicide in the city.

Anyone with information is asked to call Philadelphia Police at 215-686-TIPS (8477), send a text message to PPD TIP (773847) or send a tip through phillypolice.com.

On Tuesday morning, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia said that Ketunuti was a second year infectious diseases fellow and researcher at CHOP.

"Melissa was a warm, caring, earnest, bright young woman with her whole future ahead of her," said Paul Offit, MD, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, in a written statement. "But more than that, she was admired, respected and loved by those with whom she worked here at CHOP. Her death will have a profound impact on those who worked with her and we will all miss her deeply."

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Normal Re: UPDATE: The Body Of Pediatriic Oncologist Dr. Melissa Ketunuti Found By Her Dog Walker, Bound and Set On Fire Inside Her Basement~ Exterminator, Jason Smith Found Guilty Of 1st Degree Murder & Related Offenses Faces Mandatory Life Without Parole

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:56 pm

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Normal Reward at $35,000 in doctor’s slaying

Post by Wrapitup on Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:06 pm

POSTED: Wednesday, January 23, 2013, 1:55 PM
INQUIRER STAFF

The reward in the slaying of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia physician Melissa Ketenuti has reached $35,000.

The Citizen's Crime Commission will administer $15,000 offered by private donors, while the city administers the standard reward of $20,000 offered for an arrest and conviction in any homicide.

Ketunuti was found Monday afternoon slain, bound and her body set on fire, in the basement of her home on Naudain Street in the Graduate Hospital section of Philadelphia.

The private contributors to the award are: City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, $4,000; CHOP, $2,500; the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Medicine, $2,500 each; ShopRite store owners Jeff Brown and Larry Collins, $1,250 each; and Joseph Zuritsky, Chairman/CEO of Parkway Corp., $1,000.

Anyone with information is asked to call (215) 546-TIPS or (215) 686-TIPS.

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Normal Did Melissa Ketunuti Know Her Killer? Why Didn`t Pooch Bark?

Post by Wrapitup on Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:09 pm

Published:January 23rd, 2013 06:49 EST
By John G. Kays

The Rittenhouse Square district in Philadelphia, where Melissa Ketunuti`s body was found on Monday, looks substantial, almost swank! It`s social status is what makes her murder all the more curious, sticking out as it does, in a neighborhood that`s not so accustomed to such an atrocity, with a violation of someone who`s a consummate professional, studying pediatrics at Children`s Hospital of Philadelphia. Horrible!

No, it makes little sense, as I watch news footage of a medical crew loading her remains in a blue body bag, into an ambulance at the curb of her front door. Melissa Ketunuti was killed on our Martin Luther King holiday and on Barack Obama`s Inauguration Day, I must note with some bitter irony. What was the killer thinking? Why such rage towards a doctor, who from all appearances, was a very intelligent and caring young woman, but perhaps a bit of a loner?

And why did this aberrant behavior surface on a sacred day for our nation? Was the killer known to Melissa, or was he a stranger? Where did Melissa go Monday morning? What businesses did she visit? Her dog walker found her at around 12:30 PM; she was pronounced dead at 12:47 PM when firefighters had to put out a blaze in her basement. That is, Ketunuti was dead and on fire; she was facedown, with her ankles and wrists bound.

Her killer may have just fled the crime scene, since her body was still yet smoldering! Did neighbors see anything suspicious? Our best information comes from the Philadelphia Enquirer, which has ample quotes from a few of her neighbors, such as Pamela Rimato Tirone, who`s tending after Ketunuti`s dog Pooch (a black Labrador Retriever). Impressions of neighbors are that Melissa was very busy and about her business, studying to be a pediatrician. She`d lived on Naudain Street for three years, we`re hearing.

Evidence that she may have known her as of yet unidentified visitor, is the fact that Pooch is not reported to have bursted out barking or anything, during the timeframe when she must have been murdered. Neighbors heard nothing early Monday afternoon, unless the police haven`t revealed any incidental testimony, which they are holding close to their vest. Yet, how could Pooch have been so silent, so passive during this entire ordeal, without being privy to an intruder who was taking his master`s life?

This is what`s incomprehensible and highly suspicious! Wouldn`t Melissa have commanded Pooch to attack this crazy person? Of course, the killer may have put the dog in another room, unless the dog walker found Pooch in the same room where the fire was blazing. The cause of death was strangulation; a rope was found around Melissa`s neck. The manner of death (or the cause) is very sick indeed; it`s hard to even report it! Who could exact this horror and why?

What`s this curmudgeon doing in Rittenhouse Square anyway? Plentiful (favorable) biographical data on Melissa Ketunuti has been provided by the news, who seems to have kept a blog, but this dates back to 2008. Her character and credentials appear to be impeccable! Of course, we don`t know everything she was doing. And obviously, 2008 was 5 years ago. What changed in her life during those 5 years?

What stands out the most for me, is the social setting of the crime; the professional aspect, which is in stark contrast to the foul perimeters of her demise, also projects a twisted irony, ill-defined in this early stage of the investigation. Then there`s MLK Day, which is blemished by this crime, yet the connection is obscure.

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I think this is a good article that asks some intriguing questions but w/all due respect, this has nothing to do w/MLK day. my 2 cents

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Normal Re: UPDATE: The Body Of Pediatriic Oncologist Dr. Melissa Ketunuti Found By Her Dog Walker, Bound and Set On Fire Inside Her Basement~ Exterminator, Jason Smith Found Guilty Of 1st Degree Murder & Related Offenses Faces Mandatory Life Without Parole

Post by Wrapitup on Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:34 pm

Suspect described as helpful family man 'just snapped'
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Police say Jason Smith, 36, of Crescent Lane, Levittown gave a statement laying out his involvement and has been charged with murder of Melissa Ketunuti and abuse of a corpse, said Capt. James Clark of the Philadelphia police homicide unit January 24, 2013.

Michael Matza and Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
POSTED: Thursday, January 24, 2013, 8:10 PM

If there is something in the makeup of Jason Smith that might have presaged the slaying to which police say he has confessed, nothing was immediately apparent Thursday.

Neighbors in the Crescent Lane section of Levittown, Bucks County - where the 36-year-old exterminator lived with his girlfriend, their young daughter, his girlfriend's mother, and other relatives - described him as helpful, a family man who took his boxer, Tyson, out for frequent walks.

They said he showed no signs of a violent temper.

Yet Philadelphia police officials, at a news conference Thursday, said an explosive argument between Smith and Melissa Ketunuti apparently triggered a murderous rage.

Police said Smith told them that the brutal assault occurred during an argument over his services with Ketunuti, 35, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. According to investigators, Smith said he knocked her to the floor, bound her hands and feet, and strangled her, and then set her head and chest on fire in an effort to destroy evidence.

A dog walker found Ketunuti's body in the basement of her Center City rowhouse on Monday.

Speaking on condition that they not be identified, police investigators said Smith's statement, in which he said he "just snapped," included an admission that he was addicted to prescription painkillers and had a history of drug and alcohol abuse.

On Thursday, Smith was charged with murder, abuse of a corpse, and risking arson. Investigators said Smith had no significant criminal history.

Court records show Bristol Township police arrested Smith on Feb. 18, 2004 - his 28th birthday - for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol and cocaine.

When police encountered him, he was stopped at the scene of an accident on Route 413 just north of Bath Road. His car was severely damaged.

After pleading guilty to three counts of dangerous driving, he was sentenced to one to six months in county prison, ordered to enroll in a substance-abuse treatment program, and assessed $1,808 in court costs and fines.

He served one month in prison and was released, completed the court-ordered treatment program, and agreed to pay his fine at the rate of $50 every two weeks. At that time, he lived on Ritter Avenue in Bristol, and paid $75 a week in child support. Neighbors say he has two children.

On the day of the killing, Smith was working as a subcontractor for Dave Bilyk Exterminators, a Newtown company founded in 1992. A person who answered the phone at Bilyk on Thursday said, "No comment," and immediately hung up.

A man who answered the door at Smith's Crescent Lane house also declined to comment.

In addition to the Crescent Lane and Ritter Avenue addresses, public records show that for a time, Smith lived in Langhorne.

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Normal Re: UPDATE: The Body Of Pediatriic Oncologist Dr. Melissa Ketunuti Found By Her Dog Walker, Bound and Set On Fire Inside Her Basement~ Exterminator, Jason Smith Found Guilty Of 1st Degree Murder & Related Offenses Faces Mandatory Life Without Parole

Post by Wrapitup on Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:36 pm


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Normal Re: UPDATE: The Body Of Pediatriic Oncologist Dr. Melissa Ketunuti Found By Her Dog Walker, Bound and Set On Fire Inside Her Basement~ Exterminator, Jason Smith Found Guilty Of 1st Degree Murder & Related Offenses Faces Mandatory Life Without Parole

Post by Wrapitup on Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:37 pm

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Normal Philadelphia Doctor Slaying: Alleged Killer Jason Smith Had Anger Issues, Family Friend Says

Post by Wrapitup on Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:26 pm

Jan. 25, 2013

Jason Smith, the Philadelphia exterminator who police say showed up at the home of Dr. Melissa Ketunuti this week to solve her rodent problem before strangling her, was a problem child as an adolescent, a family friend told ABC News.

The family friend from many years ago, who asked for anonymity, said Smith, 36, had behavior and anger issues, and that he also liked to set things on fire.

After Smith and Ketunuti got into "some kind of argument" in Ketunuti's basement, he struck her, strangled her and set her on fire, according to police.

Smith reportedly admitted to the brutal slaying after hours of police questioning Wednesday night. Smith told police that Ketunuti had "belittled" him, sources told ABC News affiliate WPVI-TV in Philadelphia

He snapped and apparently tried to hide any evidence by setting the 35-year-old doctor on fire with paper he lit in the kitchen, the station reported.

"People like Mr. Smith basically walk around with a huge chip on their shoulder, and they feel so inadequate and so insecure that any perceived belittlement of them will set them off," ABC News consultant and former FBI agent Brad Garrett said.

Capt. James Clark of the Philadelphia Police Department said Smith's mood and clarity varied during his alleged confession.

"At some points, he was solemn. At other points, it was like he was in a fog," Clark said at a news conference.

Smith has been charged with murder, arson, abuse of a corpse and risking a catastrophe.

Ori Feibush, who owns a coffee shop near Ketunuti's street, said he and police pored over hours of surveillance video until they saw Ketunuti walking home from doing errands, with Smith steps behind her.

"Forty-five minutes later, we see this same guy walking past, but [he] looks a little more disheveled and he's got gloves on," Feibush told ABC News.

Police say that after the slaying, Smith circled Ketunuti's block twice, before heading off to another job.

Ketunuti was a doctor at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and had lived alone in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood of the city for about three years. Her family released a statement saying they are "devastated by this senseless act of violence."

"Melissa's friends from childhood, college, residency and elsewhere remember her many kindnesses, even during long hours, as well as her zest for life: traveling, running and spending time with friends and family," the statement said. "Melissa was a source of joy to everyone in her life. Her passing has left an enormous gap in our lives."

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Normal Re: UPDATE: The Body Of Pediatriic Oncologist Dr. Melissa Ketunuti Found By Her Dog Walker, Bound and Set On Fire Inside Her Basement~ Exterminator, Jason Smith Found Guilty Of 1st Degree Murder & Related Offenses Faces Mandatory Life Without Parole

Post by Wrapitup on Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:51 pm

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Normal Re: UPDATE: The Body Of Pediatriic Oncologist Dr. Melissa Ketunuti Found By Her Dog Walker, Bound and Set On Fire Inside Her Basement~ Exterminator, Jason Smith Found Guilty Of 1st Degree Murder & Related Offenses Faces Mandatory Life Without Parole

Post by Wrapitup on Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:13 am

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Normal Re: UPDATE: The Body Of Pediatriic Oncologist Dr. Melissa Ketunuti Found By Her Dog Walker, Bound and Set On Fire Inside Her Basement~ Exterminator, Jason Smith Found Guilty Of 1st Degree Murder & Related Offenses Faces Mandatory Life Without Parole

Post by Wrapitup on Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:15 am

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The parents of a young Philadelphia doctor allegedly killed by an exterminator say they're devastated by the death of their daughter.

In a statement released Friday by a family spokeswoman, the parents of 35-year-old Dr. Melissa Ketunuti say she was "a source of joy to everyone in her life."

The spokeswoman, Manisha Pai, said the parents don't want to be mentioned by name and are asking for privacy.

A man hired to deal with Ketunuti's rodent problem is charged with strangling her with a rope after they got into an argument, then tying her up and setting her body on fire.

Police say 36-year-old Jason Smith of suburban Levittown admitted to the crime. He is being held without bail.

Ketunuti was a researcher at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

It had been shaping up to be a mundane sort of afternoon for Ketunuti. The promising pediatrician ran some errands, then returned to her downtown Philadelphia rowhouse to meet with an exterminator about a rodent problem.

But something went inexplicably wrong, police said.

The exterminator - a man with no significant criminal record - got into an argument with the doctor, then strangled her, bound her body and set it ablaze in an apparent attempt to get rid of the evidence, police said Thursday in announcing his arrest.

Smith was taken into custody Wednesday night at his home about 25 miles northeast of the city, said homicide unit Capt. James Clark.

Smith was charged with murder, arson, abuse of a corpse and risking a catastrophe in the slaying of Ketunuti on Monday afternoon. He had no prior criminal history other than "minor traffic offenses," Clark said.

"She needed an exterminator, she called a certain service, he was subcontracted out," Clark said. "They got into some type of argument. It went terribly wrong."

Smith "struck her while she was in the basement, knocked her down, strangled her to death and ultimately set her body on fire," Clark said. There were no signs of sexual assault and nothing was stolen from the home of the victim, whose body was bound with rope at her wrists and ankles and wrapped around her neck, police said.

Investigators said Smith, who lived with his longtime girlfriend and her young child, and Ketunuti, a second-year infectious-diseases fellow and researcher at the renowned Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, had never met before. Clark would not elaborate on the substance of the fatal argument.

"It's very tragic," he said. "You have a young physician who dedicated her life to helping people and to die in this tragic manner, it's very, very sad."

He said detectives watched hours of surveillance video from nearby businesses, one of which showed Smith entering Ketunuti's home with a work bag and dressed in a coat and gloves, then leaving without a coat less than an hour later. Other video showed the suspect getting into his truck after the slaying and driving past her home several times, Clark said.

"Detectives did an unbelievable job of finding every bit of footage that was in that area," Clark said.

Smith was in custody and unreachable for comment. It could not be immediately determined if he had an attorney. A phone number for Smith had a busy signal.

The self-employed exterminator lived in a quiet neighborhood where he was occasionally seen working on the house he shared with his girlfriend, or playing outside with her child. Neighbors said he kept to himself, and they never saw anything out of the ordinary at the home.

District Attorney Seth Williams commended homicide detectives who worked tirelessly to quickly solve the case and he expressed his condolences to those who knew the victim.

"I would first like to send my thoughts and prayers to the family, friends and neighbors of Melissa Ketunuti," he said. "I know their pain must be enormous and I hope that today's arrest will help ease some of that pain."

Ketunuti's parents are in the process of making arrangements to travel from their home in Thailand to Philadelphia, Clark said.

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Normal Re: UPDATE: The Body Of Pediatriic Oncologist Dr. Melissa Ketunuti Found By Her Dog Walker, Bound and Set On Fire Inside Her Basement~ Exterminator, Jason Smith Found Guilty Of 1st Degree Murder & Related Offenses Faces Mandatory Life Without Parole

Post by Wrapitup on Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:19 am

This is so sad! A young, promising doctor w/her whole life ahead of her snuffed out by someone she never met, someone she hired to help her rid of rodents. It\\'s Not Fair

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Normal Re: UPDATE: The Body Of Pediatriic Oncologist Dr. Melissa Ketunuti Found By Her Dog Walker, Bound and Set On Fire Inside Her Basement~ Exterminator, Jason Smith Found Guilty Of 1st Degree Murder & Related Offenses Faces Mandatory Life Without Parole

Post by Wrapitup on Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:19 pm


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Normal Hearing for Jason Smith, Levittown exterminator accused of killing Melissa Ketunuti, postponed

Post by Wrapitup on Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:21 pm

Published: Monday, February 18, 2013
By Steve Sherman
For BucksLocalNews.com

PHILADELPHIA - A hearing for the Levittown exterminator accused of strangling a Center City Philadelphia research physician and then burning the body has been postponed.

The preliminary hearing for Jason T. Smith, of Crescent Lane, Bristol Township, scheduled for Feb. 13 at the Criminal Justice Center has been postponed to April 10 in Room 306 of the CJC.

The body of Dr. Melissa Ketunuti was found Jan. 21 strangled, bound and burned in the basement of her Center City home.

Two days later, Smith was arrested and charged with murdering the 35-year-old Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia physician, who resided in the 1700 block of Naudain Street.

Working as a sub-contractor for Dave Bilyk Exterminators, of the 300 block of Lower Dolington Road in Newtown, Smith had serviced the victim's home for a problem with rodents.

Police say the murderer strangled Ketunuti with a rope then tied the doctor's hands and feet before setting her body on fire in an attempt to hide the evidence. Smith’s statement and other evidence were enough to charge the Bucks man with murder, according to Philadelphia Police homicide Captain James Clark. The captain's statement came at a Jan. 24 press conference detailing Smith's arrest.

On the night of Jan. 23, Bristol Township Police descended upon a home Smith shared with his girlfriend in the Crabtree section of Levittown in search of evidence that would link the Bucks County man to the murder. Smith's silver Ford F-150 pickup was impounded and other material police deemed as evidence were taken from the home.

Smith is charged with one count each of murder, abuse of corpse, arson, possession of an instrument of crime with intent to injure and risking a catastrophe. Thursday night, Jan. 24, inside a CJC courtroom, the Bucks man was formally charged before Justice Francis J. Rebstock. All charges were held over for trial and Smith has been denied bail.

He is currently being held at the Philadelphia Detention Center and is represented by Philadelphia defense attorney James A. Funt.

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Normal Jason Smith's Confession Read In Open Court During Preliminary Hearing

Post by NiteSpinR on Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:08 pm

April 10, 2013

That confession was read in open court on Wednesday during the preliminary hearing for 36-year-old Jason Smith.

Smith, an exterminator from Bucks County, was called to the home of Melissa Ketunuti back on January 21st to take care of a rodent problem.

Ketunuti's burning body was found in the basement of her home in the 1700 block of Naudain Street later that day.

Smith was arrested three days later at his home in Levittown, Pa.

During Wednesday's hearing, Smith was ordered to be held for trial. He will appear in court for an arraignment next month.

Ketunuti's family was also in court on Wednesday, but they left without comment.

Below is the transcript from the confession as released by the Philadelphia Police Department:

Q. During our talk, you told us that you killed Melissa Ketunuti. Is that correct?
A. Yes.

Q. Do you understand that everything will be forwarded over to the District Attorney's Office for further review and you will be charged with her murder?
A. Yes.

Q. Can you tell us in your own words what you know about the death of Melissa Ketunuti?
A. I went to her house to do an exterminating job for mice. Her dog kept bothering me so I told her to put the dog outside. She didn't seem happy about that. So I did my job in the upstairs where the kitchen area is. I went downstairs to the basement. I saw that the basement needed a lot of work. There were a lot of holes down there. I told her to come downstairs so I could show her. She didn't like what I had to say about her basement, that all these things had to be fixed. She didn't like how I was doing my job. She wanted me to foam the entire basement. That didn't make any sense. She said that's what I'm paying you for. I told her that I didn't have enough material to foam the whole basement and that I wasn't going to do it. She wouldn't move out of the way. She said that I shouldn't be an exterminator, that I didn't know what I was doing. I grabbed her and moved her out of the way. I grabbed her by the neck and started choking her. I realized there was blood on the ground. I let go of her. I saw the ropes that were on the shelf. I tied her up. Then I set her on fire. I grabbed my [expletive] and ran out of there.

Q. What did you use to set her on fire?
A. I used a paper towel. I lit it on the stove. I threw it in a box and I took off.

Q. Where was the box at in relation to Melissa Ketunuti?
A. The box was near her head. There may have been Styrofoam wrapping inside of the box or something like that. I didn't use anything else to start the fire. I just threw the paper towel inside the box.

Q. Did Melissa Ketunuti say anything when you were choking her?
A. She was saying "Please stop, please stop. I'm sorry. I'll do whatever you want."

Q. How long have you been in her house working that day?
A. I was in the house for maybe about an hour or so I guess. I don't even know.

Q. Did you close the door when you left the house?
A. Yes.

Q. Did the dog stay in the backyard or did you let him in?
A. I let him in. He went downstairs after I let him in. I tried to get him to come back upstairs but he wouldn't come back upstairs.

Q. What did you do when you left Melissa Ketunuti's house?
A. I went and sat in my truck for about 3 minutes. My truck was parked on the corner of 18th and South St. I just sat in my truck. I didn't know what to do.

Q. Why did you drive thru her block after you left?
A. I didn't know what to do. I was thinking about going back into the house and try to put the fire out. But I decided not to and I kept driving.

Q. Where did you go after you left the area?
A. I got on I-95 and went home. I grabbed my ladder and drove to New Jersey for another job.

Q. What were you wearing that day?
A. Jeans, black North Face jacket, brown work boots, and a gray skull cap.

Q. Have you ever been to Melissa Ketunuti's house before?
A. Yes for the first visit.

Q. When was that?
A. Probably the prior Thursday or Friday. I went there but she didn't show up.

Q. How did she schedule the appointment?
A. I called her from my cell phone. My number is [redacted]. I have a Cricket cell phone.

Q. What time was your appointment set for Monday?
A. Probably between 11 or 12. I got there before the scheduled time. It was probably a couple minutes before 11.

Q. When did you first learn that Melissa Ketunuti's body had been discovered?
A. I think it was Tuesday afternoon. I think I was watching [local TV station] about 5 or 6pm.

Q. Did you tell anyone what happened?
A. No.

Q. What type of vehicle do you have?
A. I have a Ford F-150. It's tan in color.

Q. Why did you tie her up?
A. I don't know why I tied her up. I just did it.

Q. Why did you set her on fire?
A. I was just trying to get rid of the evidence that was there. That's why I threw it into the box.

Q. What evidence were you trying to destroy?
A. I don't know, footprints, handprints. I just freaked the [expletive] out. I don't know.

Q. Did you do anything sexual to Melissa Ketunuti?
A. No.

Q. Did you take anything from Melissa Ketunuti's house?
A. I didn't deliberately take anything. I just grabbed my [expletive] and got the [expletive] out of there.

Q. At any time did you leave the front door open?
A. No. I closed the door when I left. I didn't lock it or anything like that.

Q. Were you wearing gloves when you strangled Melissa Ketunuti?
A. Yes, they were black and red colored utility gloves - they're leather with Velcro straps.

Q. Where are the gloves now?
A. I guess they are in my bag or my truck somewhere.

Q. Have you ever met Melissa Ketuni prior to that day?
A. No I have never seen her before. I was just sitting in my truck waiting to go to her house and I knew it was almost time for me to go there so I went a little early.

Q. Is there anything else you can tell us about this incident at this time?
A. I don't think there's anything I can say. I'm sorry. I just wish I could take it all back. Since that day I keep waking up and thinking it was all a bad dream.

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Normal Jason Smith Exposed Himself To A Woman During A Road Rage Incident March 2012

Post by NiteSpinR on Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:15 pm

January 28, 2013

Jason Smith, 36, of Levittown, was charged in the brutal killing of 35-year-old Melissa Ketunuti.

According to police reports, Smith was involved in a road rage incident with a woman on I-95 in Bensalem last March.

During that incident, Smith allegedly exposed himself to that woman.

He was charged with disorderly conduct and pleaded guilty a month later.

Smith was fined $289.

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Normal Re: UPDATE: The Body Of Pediatriic Oncologist Dr. Melissa Ketunuti Found By Her Dog Walker, Bound and Set On Fire Inside Her Basement~ Exterminator, Jason Smith Found Guilty Of 1st Degree Murder & Related Offenses Faces Mandatory Life Without Parole

Post by Wrapitup on Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:10 pm

FGS! He doesn't know why he did it? She wouldn't move out of the way? He killed her b/c she wanted him to pad the entire basement? BS! He's a psychopath! And, a Perv!

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Normal Re: UPDATE: The Body Of Pediatriic Oncologist Dr. Melissa Ketunuti Found By Her Dog Walker, Bound and Set On Fire Inside Her Basement~ Exterminator, Jason Smith Found Guilty Of 1st Degree Murder & Related Offenses Faces Mandatory Life Without Parole

Post by NiteSpinR on Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:01 am

There have been comments made on some of the sites (no conformation from media sources) that she was wearing only a Tee Shirt and may have been raped.
He said he set a burning box next to her head to start the fire. Was he trying to get rid of DNA from her face?
I think there is a WHOLE LOT MISSING FROM HIS STORY!
Also read that DNA samples were taken from him to compare to other unsolved cases.

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Normal Re: UPDATE: The Body Of Pediatriic Oncologist Dr. Melissa Ketunuti Found By Her Dog Walker, Bound and Set On Fire Inside Her Basement~ Exterminator, Jason Smith Found Guilty Of 1st Degree Murder & Related Offenses Faces Mandatory Life Without Parole

Post by Wrapitup on Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:38 am

I think he did rape her. It\\'s Not Fair

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Normal Jury Of 6 Men And 6 Women Selected In The Trial Of Jason Smith For The Murder Of Doctor Melissa Ketunuti

Post by NiteSpinR on Tue May 05, 2015 2:22 am

May 5, 2015

A Philadelphia jury of six men and six women was selected Monday to hear the murder trial of a Levittown exterminator charged in the 2013 strangling of Philadelphia doctor Melissa Ketunuti.

Jason Smith, 39, is accused of killing Ketunuti, 35, a pediatrician and researcher at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, during a Jan. 21, 2013, argument at her house in 1700 block of Naudain Street in the Graduate Hospital area of Center City.

Smith, an independent exterminator hired by a Bucks County firm, was assigned to rid Ketunuti's rowhouse of mice. During the appointment, police allege, Ketunuti questioned Smith's work, and he got angry and strangled her.

Smith then allegedly set Ketunuti's body on fire in an attempt to destroy the crime scene. Smith was arrested several days later after an outside-surveillance video camera recorded his entering and leaving Ketunuti's house at the time of the killing.

Assistant District Attorneys Jennifer Selber and Peter Lim and defense attorney J. Michael Farrell spent Monday picking the 12 jurors and two alternates from a panel of 60 prospects.
Common Pleas Court Judge Sandy L.V. Byrd told the jurors to report Wednesday for the start of what he said would be about three days of testimony in the trial.


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Normal Defense Claim Accused Killer Jason Smith Confessed To 'Something He Didn't Do'

Post by NiteSpinR on Thu May 07, 2015 1:21 am

May 6, 2015

To prosecutors, he is an exterminator who extinguished the life of an independent woman who dedicated her life to caring for ill children, and then set her body on fire to cover up the crime.

To his attorney, he is a victim of circumstance, a laborer targeted by detectives because he was the last person to see 35-year-old Melissa Ketunuti alive, worn down during more than five hours of interrogation into confessing to a crime he did not commit.

On Wednesday, a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury of six men and six women began hearing what will be several days of evidence before deciding which portrait of Jason Smith to believe.

"The place that should have been her castle, the place she felt most secure, ended up being so much worse, because the only life she could not save was her own," Assistant District Attorney Peter Lim said in his opening statement.

Lim said the evidence would include video surveillance showing Smith following Ketunuti, a pediatrician, north on 18th Street to her home on the 1700 block of Naudain Street shortly before 11 a.m. Jan. 21, 2013. About 45 minutes later, Lim said, the same cameras show Smith walking back to his truck in a hurried manner, a half-hour before Ketunuti's body was found by the man who regularly walked her dog.
The video and a log of calls from Ketunuti's cellphone quickly led detectives to Smith, whom they arrested two days later.

In his opening, defense attorney J. Michael Farrell said that the surveillance video was flawed and that detectives mistakenly focused only on Smith. The video does not show Ketunuti's rowhouse in the middle of the block, Farrell said, so it's possible that other people entered the pediatrician's home after Smith left.

As for the confession, Farrell said, "Sometimes, people confess to crimes they don't commit."

Farrell told the jury that Smith, 37, was a man of low intelligence, and had been awake for 21 hours by the time detectives began questioning him about 9:45 p.m. Jan. 23. More than five hours later, Farrell said, detectives took down his confession.

Smith, according to a statement he gave police, had been assigned to deal with a mice infestation in Ketunuti's house. He allegedly became enraged when she questioned his competence.

The phenomenon of false confessions has been researched by criminologists for years. The Innocence Project of New York has reported that of 300 people freed from prison by DNA evidence, a quarter were convicted in part by their false confessions.

Courts, however, have resisted the use of expert testimony about the phenomenon. Last May, Pennsylvania's Supreme Court decided 4-2 against allowing expert testimony about the reasons a person might give a false confession.

Farrell said that there was no physical trace evidence linking Smith to the crime and that witnesses would testify about Smith's "good character and reputation as a peaceful law-abiding individual."

The first witness to testify Wednesday was Andrew Bredensteiner, who for eight months had walked Ketunuti's dog, Pooch.

Bredensteiner, who had gone to the victim's home to take Pooch outside, told the jury of the shock of finding Ketunuti's body about 12:15 p.m.

In the basement of Ketunuti's smoke-filled three-story rowhouse, Bredensteiner said, "there was a small fire, like a campfire, in the back of the basement. Then I realized it was a person there, a person who was on fire.

"I guessed who it was," said Bredensteiner, clearing his throat. "I figured it was the woman who lived there."

Bredensteiner said that her body was charred and that she had been hog-tied face down on the floor.


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Normal Defense Attorney J. Michael Farrell Angrily Objected To Fire Marshal Lt. George Werez's Testimony

Post by NiteSpinR on Thu May 07, 2015 9:04 pm

May 7, 2015

In testimony that undercut the defense theory of an unknown killer, a Philadelphia fire marshal testified Thursday that the fire in the house of physician Melissa Ketunuti would have been set within minutes of the time exterminator Jason Smith was seen on video leaving the area.

Defense attorney J. Michael Farrell, however, angrily objected to Lt. George Werez's testimony, challenging his expertise to estimate the time a fire was set from the amount of smoke in a building.

Werez based his estimate on a hypothetical question posed by Assistant District Attorney Peter Lim, who cited earlier testimony about the amount of smoke in the house by a dog walker who arrived at 12:30 p.m. to exercise Ketunuti's dog and discovered her body burning in the basement.

When Farrell continued arguing with him, Common Pleas Court Judge Sandy L.V. Byrd ordered the attorneys to a closed-door conference. After about eight minutes, the group emerged, Byrd overruled Farrell, and the testimony was allowed.

Farrell has argued that an unknown person could have killed the 35-year-old Children's Hospital of Philadelphia pediatrician during the estimated half-hour Jan. 21, 2013, between the time Smith left Ketunuti's house and when her body was discovered about 12:30 p.m.
Werez estimated that the fire would have been set 20 to 25 minutes before the first alarm was received at 12:23 p.m. A surveillance video camera recorded Smith back at his work truck parked about a block from Ketunuti's house at 11:44 a.m.

Smith is then seen twice driving north on 18th Street and turning right on Naudain Street, passing Ketunuti's house at 1728 Naudain, before disappearing at 11:47 a.m.

Farrell argued that, even if accurate, Werez's estimate still left 13 minutes between Werez's estimated time of the fire's start to when Smith was seen back at his truck.

Smith, 39, of Levittown, was an exterminator assigned to go to Ketunuti's home in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood to get rid of mice.

Smith at first told police "she was alive when I left." Later, he told police that he and Ketunuti argued about the quality of his work and his competence and that he strangled her in a rage and set the body on fire to hide the crime.

Farrell has suggested that an unknown person killed Ketunuti and that Smith gave a false confession, exhausted after more than five hours of questioning by homicide detectives.

Earlier Thursday, police crime scene Officer Jacqueline Davis described the scene where Ketunuti's body was found.

When Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Selber projected photos depicting Ketunuti's charred and blackened body hog-tied on the floor, the pediatrician's friends and former colleagues turned away or covered their eyes.

Several wept and left the courtroom when Davis identified straps, a saddle girth belt, and other riding equipment used to bind Ketunuti's hands and legs.

Ketunuti was a native of Thailand who came to the United States for college. About a dozen friends from Children's and college have attended the trial.

Selber said Ketunuti's parents remained in Thailand, her father too ill and mother too distraught to attend. The parents are being updated daily, however, by friends in the courtroom.



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Normal Re: UPDATE: The Body Of Pediatriic Oncologist Dr. Melissa Ketunuti Found By Her Dog Walker, Bound and Set On Fire Inside Her Basement~ Exterminator, Jason Smith Found Guilty Of 1st Degree Murder & Related Offenses Faces Mandatory Life Without Parole

Post by Wrapitup on Sat May 09, 2015 2:16 am

The evidence is all there. This defense attorney doesn't have a prayer. I hope they lock him up and throw away the key!!

This poor woman never had a chance!!!

Thanks for the update!

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Normal Jason Smith Takes The Witness Stand In His Own Defense

Post by NiteSpinR on Tue May 12, 2015 9:50 am

May 11, 2015

Bucks County exterminator Jason Smith took the witness stand in his defense Monday, denying that he strangled pediatrician Melissa Ketunuti and set her body on fire, and telling a Philadelphia jury that he confessed only after hours of badgering and being roughed up by a homicide detective.

Defense attorney J. Michael Farrell opened his questioning of the 39-year-old Levittown man with the simple question: "Did you kill Dr. Ketunuti?"

Smith's response was equally terse: "No, I did not."

Smith's testimony before a Common Pleas Court jury of six women and six men was essentially what he told police when arrested: "She was alive when I left her."

Whether Smith's story holds up - including that Homicide Detective Ohmarr P. Jenkins grabbed him by the shirt and slammed him several times against the wall during their five-hour interrogation - will become clearer Tuesday when he undergoes questioning from Assistant District Attorneys Jennifer Selber and Peter Lim.
After court Monday, Lim said Jenkins and the lead detective, Edward Tolliver, have denied using physical force during the questioning. Lim also noted that Smith's confession includes a clause in which he swore he was not abused by detectives.

Smith's voice cracked and he wiped his eyes when asked why he had confessed to a crime he later said he did not commit.

"Because they had my kids, they had Shannon" - girlfriend Shannon Mooney, mother of his then-4-year-old daughter - "and I didn't want anything more to do with it," Smith said. "I wanted it over."

Smith is charged with murder, arson, and related crimes in the Jan. 21, 2013, slaying of Ketunuti, 35, a physician and researcher at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Smith met Ketunuti the day she died, when he went to her home to get rid of mice. He was arrested after police discovered his number on the doctor's cellphone and surveillance cameras showed him in the area of her home before and after she was killed.

After detectives confronted Smith with a photo of Ketunuti's charred body, Smith reportedly broke down and confessed, saying that he and Ketunuti had argued about the quality of his work and that he became enraged. He said he strangled her and set the body on fire to cover up the crime.

Smith's claim of being coerced into confessing was partly undercut twice Monday.

Farrell and prosecutors stipulated to the jury that Smith was familiar with his constitutional rights to remain silent and have a lawyer because he was arrested and questioned by state troopers in 2012 and waived his rights.

The jury was not told why Smith was arrested. Court records show he pleaded guilty to a "road-rage" incident in Bensalem.

The jury also heard Smith's voice trying to reassure his girlfriend in a prison phone call, boasting that he was smart not to have agreed to let detectives videotape his confession.

"There are guys in here who say it's a good thing you didn't put it on tape," Smith told Mooney in a recording of their March 2, 2013, conversation. "It's a lot harder to get a taped confession thrown out."

Mooney sounded skeptical, telling Smith the confession was still on paper.

"But they're not my words," Smith countered. "I just signed it."

"Yes, you signed it," Mooney replied.

There is a sign above inmate phones in the Philadelphia prisons warning that all calls are monitored and recorded; calls are also interrupted periodically with a recorded voice issuing the same warning.

Lim used the audiotape to confront Mooney on the witness stand about Smith's confession.

Instead of insisting he did not commit the crime and was coerced into confessing, the audiotape has Smith discussing his strategy during the time he made the statement to detectives.

Mooney glared at Lim and insisted she never believed Smith's confession was genuine. She said she railed against police for their conduct during the Jan. 23, 2013, raid on the Levittown house where she, Smith, their daughter, and her parents lived.

She and her stepfather, Lawrence Daniel, were among the first two defense witnesses to testify at the start of the second week of the trial.

Both described their terror as a team of police in riot gear burst into their house, ordered Daniel and his arthritic wife onto the floor, shot and killed the family's 8-year-old boxer, and then took Smith into custody.

"You trust cops, that they're not going to lie to you and they're not there to manipulate you," Mooney said. "There's just no excuse for that."


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Normal Re: UPDATE: The Body Of Pediatriic Oncologist Dr. Melissa Ketunuti Found By Her Dog Walker, Bound and Set On Fire Inside Her Basement~ Exterminator, Jason Smith Found Guilty Of 1st Degree Murder & Related Offenses Faces Mandatory Life Without Parole

Post by Wrapitup on Tue May 12, 2015 2:12 pm

He is SO guilty!!!!! I don't care what he says!

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Normal UPDATE: Jason Smith Found Guilty Of 1st Degree Murder & Related Offenses Faces Mandatory Life Without Parole

Post by NiteSpinR on Wed May 13, 2015 6:20 pm

5/13/15

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- An exterminator has been found guilty in the murder of a young pediatrician and researcher at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

35-year-old Dr. Melissa Ketunuti had graduated from Stanford University medical school, worked in Botswana and spent about five years at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia as a physician and researcher.

37-year-old Jason Smith was found guilty of murder and related offenses Wednesday. Police say he was the last person known to have visited her home.

It happened in a row house on the 1700 block of Naudain Street in January of 2013.

Police say Smith from Levittown, Pa. ended up strangling Ketunuti and setting her body on fire in the basement.

Shortly after he was arrested, Smith gave police a lengthy confession.

He told them Ketunuti confronted him in the basement and started questioning his work. He said he eventually became enraged and started choking her.

He told police she cried out, "Please stop, please stop. I'm sorry. I'll do whatever you want."

Investigators found her with a belt around her neck and her wrists and ankles tied with rope.

Police say he then told investigators he then piled every flammable item within reach onto the body and set it on fire.

Video surveillance showed Smith leaving the house and getting into his pickup truck.

A few days later, only Action News was there as police arrested Smith and towed the truck away from his home in Levittown.

He sobbed in court as his confession was read during his preliminary hearing last April.

Smith's defense attorney contends he made a legitimate house call and that detectives squeezed a confession out of him because they wanted to solve the case.


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Normal Re: UPDATE: The Body Of Pediatriic Oncologist Dr. Melissa Ketunuti Found By Her Dog Walker, Bound and Set On Fire Inside Her Basement~ Exterminator, Jason Smith Found Guilty Of 1st Degree Murder & Related Offenses Faces Mandatory Life Without Parole

Post by Wrapitup on Sun May 17, 2015 6:32 pm

Thank God!!!!

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