'He's Not a Monster:' Cousin of Doc Murder Suspect

A relative of Jason T. Smith talks to NBC10, says the accused killer had history of substance abuse

By Deanna Durante and Lauren DiSanto
|  Friday, Jan 25, 2013  |  Updated 8:46 AM EDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
NBC10's Deanna Durante speaks with the cousin of Jason Smith, who is the alleged killer of Dr. Melissa Ketunuti. Smith's cousin says he was a good man, but he had issues. NBC10 Deanna Durante reports.

NBC10 Philadelphia - Deanna Durante

NBC10's Deanna Durante speaks with the cousin of Jason Smith, who is the alleged killer of Dr. Melissa Ketunuti. Smith's cousin says he was a good man, but he had issues. NBC10 Deanna Durante reports.

advertisement

The cousin of murder suspect Jason T. Smith, of Levittown, talked to NBC10's Deanna Durante, about the arrest of the cousin that he calls "a good person."

"I'm not going to say Jason is a monster, because he's not," said his cousin who only wanted to be identified as "George."

Philadelphia Police say Smith, a contracted exterminator, showed up at Melissa Ketunuti's Center City home on Monday because she was having a problem with rodents.

Photos and Videos

Vigil for Murdered Doctor as Suspect Is Arraigned

Friends and colleagues of Dr. Melissa Ketunuti march to her home as the man accused of strangling her and setting her on fire is arraigned by police. Jason Smith is held without bail. NBC10's Christina Maddela has the story.

How CHOP Doctor's Phone Helped Police Find Accused Killer

Police say records from Dr. Melissa Ketunuti's cell phone showed a call from the 36-year-old exterminator, Jason Smith. The Bucks County man reportedly confessed to the killing of the CHOP pediatrician. NBC10's Lu Ann Cahn reports.
More Photos and Videos

Investigators say Smith confessed to strangling the pediatrician, and setting her body on fire after they got into an argument over the contract. He claims he "just snapped," according to a police source.

"What he did was atrocious," the cousin added. "I just want people to know that he's a good person. He's a great father to his son. He's a loving person, he has compassion, he has remorse."

Smith has one son and lived with his long-time girlfriend in Levittown.

NBC10's Durante questioned the cousin about Smith's history, because police say his record only showed traffic offenses, including a 2004 D.U.I charge.

"He has mental issues and he has substance abuse issues," said the cousin.

Smith was arraigned Thursday night on murder, abuse of a corpse, arson and causing a catastrophe charges and sent to jail without bail.

Friends and colleaugues gathered Thursday night for a "March for Melissa" and candlelight vigil. The left candles in front of her home.

 


Get the latest from NBC10 Philadelphia anytime: Android/iPhone/iPad Apps | SMS Alerts | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Instagram | RSS

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
What's New
FlyeredUp: Win 2 Tickets to Flyers Playoff Game
Win two tickets to the first 2014... Read more
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out