Community Mourns Loss Of CHOP Doctor - Fox 2 News Headlines

Community Mourns Loss Of CHOP Doctor

Posted: Updated:
A large group gathered outside of the home where Melissa Ketunuti's body was found Monday. A large group gathered outside of the home where Melissa Ketunuti's body was found Monday.
Jason Smith, 36, made his first appearance in court Thursday night  for the murder of Center City doctor Melissa Ketunuti. (Courtesy: Philadelphia Police Department) Jason Smith, 36, made his first appearance in court Thursday night for the murder of Center City doctor Melissa Ketunuti. (Courtesy: Philadelphia Police Department)

A Levittown exterminator made his first appearance in court Thursday night for the murder of Center City doctor Melissa Ketunuti.  Jason Smith, 36 is being held without bail on murder, arson and related charges.

Meanwhile about 80 friends, neighbors and co-workers held a candlelight march to the front door steps of the Naudain Street home where Ketunuti was killed on Monday.

"There are these amazing people and there's so much love and support that I have always felt at every stage" said Ketunuti's boyfriend Levon Utidjian.

Neighbors in the area felt compelled to come out on a bitter cold night to pay their respects. Most finding comfort that someone is behind bars for the murder.

"It points out that it could happen to anybody at anytime anyone of us lets people in to our houses without doing background checks or having somebody else present" said neighbor Julia Bringhurst.

Ketunuti's body was found hogtied, strangled and burned by her dog walker Monday afternoon. Police say Smith confessed to the crime. Smith was hired to remove rodents from Ketunuti's home when police say there was some sort of argument.

"It went terribly wrong at that point he struck her and while she was in the basement knocked her down strangled her to death and ultimately set her body on fire" said Homicide Unit Capt. James Clark

Police arrested Smith in less than 48 hours after the murder. They say video surveillance helped catch Smith as he parked his silver Ford F-150 pick-up truck nearby Ketunuti's house. Cameras also captured Smith driving around the block twice after the murder. Detectives say Smith's phone number was on Ketunuti's phone and traced the number to Smith's Levittown home.

"You have a young physician that dedicated her life to helping people and to die in this tragic way is sad" said Clark.

Smith was a unknown to police, having only minor offenses. Smith is scheduled to appear in court again on February 13.

  • Chris O'Connell ReportsMore>>

  • Large Snake Has New Jersey Community On Edge

    Large Snake Has New Jersey Community On Edge

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:22 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:22:44 GMT
    A suspected python has a Cape May County neighborhood on edge tonight. Wildlife officials say a python is slithering the streets and its nearly 12-feet long.
    A suspected python has a Cape May County neighborhood on edge tonight. Wildlife officials say a python is slithering the streets and its nearly 12-feet long.

  • Two Suspects Charged In Carjacking Crash That Killed Three Children

    Two Suspects Charged In Carjacking Crash That Killed Three Children

    From Left to Right: Cornelius Crawford, 22, and Jonathan Rosa,19.From Left to Right: Cornelius Crawford, 22, and Jonathan Rosa,19.
    Philadelphia Police say they charged two men in connection with the carjacking that killed three children and injured several others in the city’s Tioga section.
    Philadelphia Police say they charged two men in connection with the carjacking that killed three children and injured several others in the city’s Tioga section.


  • Community Holds Vigil For Carjacking Crash Victims

    Community Holds Vigil For Carjacking Crash Victims

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:41 PM EDT2014-07-30 02:41:19 GMT
    A vigil was held on Tuesday to honor the three children killed in a carjacking crash in the city's Tioga section on Friday.

    A vigil was held on Tuesday to honor the three children killed in a carjacking crash in the city's Tioga section on Friday.

Powered by WorldNow

WJBK-TV | Fox 2
16550 West Nine Mile Rd.
Southfield, MI 48075

Main Station: (248) 557-2000
Newsroom: (248) 552-5103

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices