'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

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    NEWSLETTERS

    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. (Published Thursday, Jan 24, 2013)

    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.

    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.

    Vigil for Murdered Doctor as Suspect Is Arraigned

    [PHI] 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. (Published Thursday, Jan 24, 2013)

    "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.

    How CHOP Doctor's Phone Helped Police Find Accused Killer

    [PHI] 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. (Published Thursday, Jan 24, 2013)

    "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.

     


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