Exterminator Charged With Killing Philly Pediatrician

Police say he snapped during a service call

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 24, 2013 2:23 PM CST

(Newser) – A high-profile murder case near Philly may have been solved: Police today charged a 36-year-old exterminator with murdering a young pediatrician in her home, then setting her body on fire in the basement in a bid to hide the evidence, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. The apparent motive is a paltry one, as AP recounts:

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

Police say Jason Smith knocked down Melissa Ketunuti, 35, during the argument, then strangled her. The break in the case came when investigators discovered that Ketunuti had an appointment with an exterminator the day of her murder. They tracked down Smith from a phone number she had written down. Surveillance cameras at a nearby coffee shop captured him entering her house and leaving about 50 minutes later. The two had never met, and Smith has only minor traffic offenses on his record.

This undated photo provided by the Philadelphia Police Department shows Jason Smith.
This undated photo provided by the Philadelphia Police Department shows Jason Smith.   (AP Photo/Philadelphia Police Department)
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