Levittown Exterminator Jason Smith Charged with Murder in Slaying of Dr. Melissa Ketunuti

Stanford grad Dr. Melissa Ketunuti murdered

Levittown Exterminator Jason Smith Charged with Murder in Slaying of Dr. Melissa Ketunuti

Jason Smith, 36, of Crescent Lane, Levittown, was charged with murder Thursday in the slaying of Dr. Melissa Ketunuti, who was found strangled, with her hands and feet bound, and set on fire in the basement of her Philadelphia house.

Smith, who works for an extermination company, had an appointment at Ketunuti’s home the day she was killed. He gave a statement that he attacked her and killed her in the home after an argument. Sources said Smith struck, then strangled Ketunuti. He set the body ablaze. She was not sexually assaulted, police have said. Ketunuti let Smith into her home, Clark said. The two got into a fight during the appointment.


The surveillance video shows Smith entering Ketunuti’s home wearing a coat, and gloves, and carrying a work bag. He was seen leaving about 50 minutes without a coat. Ketunuti had been running errands around the neighborhood just before the encounter with Smith.

Sources say police scoured Ketunuti’s personal records, including her phone, and found that she had an appointment with an extermination company. They traced a number to Smith’s phone.

Police sources say Smith gave a statement confessing to the crime during questioning. Source

Jason Smith reportedly admitted to the crime and was charged with murder and the abuse of a corpse, Capt. James Clark of the Philadelphia police homicide unit, said. Smith, who was seen on a surveillance video at a coffee shop near the home of Melissa Ketunuti, was arrested Wednesday night at a home he shared with his girlfriend and their child.

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Janet Shan is a freelance journalist and managing editor of the Hinterland Gazette, who is working on her first novel, a mystery based in the hills on Montego Bay.