A female pediatrician, Melissa Ketunuti, who had practiced in the Philadelphia area was murdered at her home during the mid-morning to early afternoon hours on Monday. However, for being such a horrific incident, this was far from the typical murder. Rather than the gunman having a premeditated plan and entering the scene, it appears that the murder occurred as the result of a heated argument between the two parties in Ketunuti’s basement.
The day started as an exterminator in the Philadelphia area, Jason Smith, was scheduled to go to her house to take care of extermination-related issues. It is unknown what exactly happened during the timeframe between his arrival and their argument, which apparently occurred in the basement. However, some details have now been released describing how the death of Ketunuti occurred.
Reports indicate that upon entering the heated argument, Smith used rope to beat her, strangle her and knock her out. From there, he allegedly tied her hands and legs behind her back, so she would have not had the means to fight back even if she had not been passed out from him abusing her. After that, Smith reportedly set her on fire and left her to decease.
Investigators say that they believe his primary motive for burning her body was that he thought it would destroy any and all evidence tying him to the murder- with DNA being the primary thing he was concerned with. As a result of him setting Ketunuti’s body on fire, the house also caught fire, which is how her body was actually discovered. Reports indicate that her body was found just after noon on Monday when her dog’s walker showed up at the house to find it was on fire. She called 911 regarding the fire, which is when law enforcement officers found her deceased body in the home.
Smith has now been arrested for his actions, and he faces a host of charges for his violent actions. Of his charges, murder, arson and abuse of a corpse are three that Smith will most likely be sentenced on. Until his murder, assuming he is found guilty, Smith had a nearly-clean record, which just consisted of a handful of traffic citations. Those who knew Ketunuti described her as someone who was well-liked. The hospital she worked for, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, added that “she will be deeply missed.”