Community Mourns Loss Of CHOP Doctor - New York News

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.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Woman Says Her Car Was Damaged By Plow Truck

    Woman Says Her Car Was Damaged By Plow Truck

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:37:50 GMT
    When a worker for a State Agency accidentally does you harm, you might expect to be compensated in some way.However, when an Emergency Proclamation is declared all bets are off/Sheila Bradley-Oben searched for photos that illustrate the scene when her son called her the night of February 13th.“He was like, 'Mom, I have something to tell you...your car has been damaged.' and I said, 'damaged?' what happened?” Oben explained.She says her 2002 Nissan Altima was covered in a mound of ice and snow...
    When a worker for a State Agency accidentally does you harm, you might expect to be compensated in some way.However, when an Emergency Proclamation is declared all bets are off/Sheila Bradley-Oben searched for photos that illustrate the scene when her son called her the night of February 13th.“He was like, 'Mom, I have something to tell you...your car has been damaged.' and I said, 'damaged?' what happened?” Oben explained.She says her 2002 Nissan Altima was covered in a mound of ice and snow...
  • Tip Leads To Marijuana Bust Inside Havertown Residence

    Tip Leads To Marijuana Bust Inside Havertown Residence

    Tip Leads To Marijuana Bust Inside Havertown Residence

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:25 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:25:29 GMT
    Haverford Police have arrested a local doctor and his daughter accused of growing and distributing marijuana inside their home.Haverford Police have arrested a local doctor and his daughter accused of growing and distributing marijuana inside their home.
    Haverford Police have arrested a local doctor and his daughter accused of growing and distributing marijuana inside their home.
    Haverford Police have arrested a local doctor and his daughter accused of growing and distributing marijuana inside their home.
  • 1 Injured After Police-Involved Shooting In SW Philly

    1 Injured After Police-Involved Shooting In SW Philly

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 5:30 PM EDT2014-04-23 21:30:25 GMT
    Police say a man shot and wounded by plainclothes officers in Philadelphia appears to have been a pizza deliveryman who may have mistaken them for robbers.
    Police say a man shot and wounded by plainclothes officers in Philadelphia appears to have been a pizza deliveryman who may have mistaken them for robbers.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • God's Love We Deliver virtual bake sale for birthday cakes

    God's Love We Deliver virtual bake sale for birthday cakes

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:36 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:36:46 GMT
    God's Love We Deliver provides meals to people in the New York City area who are too sick to shop and cook for themselves. Clients also receive birthday cards that are decorated by local school students. Sometimes a cake is the only birthday gift that God's Love's clients will receive.
    God's Love We Deliver provides meals to people in the New York City area who are too sick to shop and cook for themselves. Clients also receive birthday cards that are decorated by local school students. Sometimes a cake is the only birthday gift that God's Love's clients will receive.
  • Success Academy students waiting for word on new locations

    Success Academy students waiting for word on new locations

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 5:58 PM EDT2014-04-23 21:58:48 GMT
    The mayor's office is saying one thing. The charter schools another. It is a lot of he said, she said. The bottom line is that right now the future of three charter schools is still unclear. Jennifer Duran is afraid because she doesn't know where her two children are going to school next year. Both kids attend success academy Harlem 4, one of three charter schools that still does not have a set location. The other two charters are Success Academy Jamaica in Queens and Success Academy City Hall.
    The mayor's office is saying one thing. The charter schools another. It is a lot of he said, she said. The bottom line is that right now the future of three charter schools is still unclear. Jennifer Duran is afraid because she doesn't know where her two children are going to school next year. Both kids attend success academy Harlem 4, one of three charter schools that still does not have a set location. The other two charters are Success Academy Jamaica in Queens and Success Academy City Hall.
  • Connecticut man charged in Yale hoax threat

    Connecticut man charged in Yale hoax threat

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 3:33 PM EDT2014-04-23 19:33:11 GMT
    New Haven police say they have charged a Westbrook with making a hoax call in November to say an armed man was heading to shoot up Yale University.
    Police say they have charged a Connecticut man with making a call in November in which he falsely claimed an armed man was on his way to shoot up Yale University. New Haven police said Wednesday that 50-year-old Jeffrey Jones, of Westbrook, has been charged with falsely reporting an incident, threatening, reckless endangerment, misuse of the emergency 911 system and breach of peace.
Powered by WorldNow
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