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Exterminator

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NEWS
January 25, 2013 | BY STEPHANIE FARR, JASON NARK & SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writers farrs@phillynews.com, 215-854-4225
SHE COULD COUNT her success by the number of lives she had saved. He could count his by the number of lives he claimed. She dealt with the most vulnerable. He dealt with the most reviled. But the paths of Melissa Ketunuti, a doctor at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and Jason Smith, an exterminator from Bucks County, crossed on Monday when Smith went to Ketunuti's Center City house to help her with a rodent problem. It was there, police say, in the basement of Ketunuti's home following an argument, that Smith killed the doctor as if her life mattered no more than the bugs and rodents he'd made a living exterminating.
NEWS
May 15, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
Jason Smith, the exterminator who said he was wrongly arrested and coerced into a confession, was found guilty Wednesday of strangling pediatrician Melissa Ketunuti and setting her body on fire. He was immediately sentenced to life in prison without parole. Smith, 39, who spent almost three hours testifying in his defense, was almost speechless after the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury convicted him of murder, arson, risking a catastrophe, abuse of corpse, and a weapons charge. When Judge Sandy L.V. Byrd asked the Levittown man whether he had anything to say before sentencing, Smith's voice crackled with emotion: "No, your honor.
NEWS
May 28, 1986 | By Daniel LeDuc, Inquirer Staff Writer
There are three types of rats, in case you did not know. A guy who does is Harry Hermann, and he says there are "alphas, betas and omegas. " The omegas are not too bright and will eat just about anything; betas are the rats' middle class, and then there are the alphas. "They're the kings and queens," said Hermann, an exterminator for Terminix International Inc. in Cherry Hill. "They're a very tightknit social organization. " It is Hermann's job to disrupt those social organizations by killing the rats.
NEWS
May 21, 1998 | By Richard Sine, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
A Bryn Mawr family who hired an exterminator to get rid of termites says the exterminator got rid of them instead, according to a lawsuit filed in Delaware County Court. The suit, filed last Friday, contends that the exterminator sprayed so much pesticide that the entire family fell ill. The five McElhineys had to leave their home on the 100 block of Clemson Road a year ago and have not been able to return, the suit says. The family is accusing Jones Termite and Pest Control of Broomall of fraud, negligence and outrageous conduct.
NEWS
April 12, 2013 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia pediatrician Melissa Ketunuti was killed after she questioned the competence of the exterminator sent to rid her rowhouse of mice. That's what Jason Smith - who allegedly strangled Ketunuti - told detectives in a teary five-page Jan. 24 confession. Smith's statement was read Wednesday at a preliminary hearing where Smith was held for trial on murder, arson, and related charges by Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni. "She said that I shouldn't be an exterminator, that I didn't know what I was doing," said Smith, 37, of Levittown, in a statement read by homicide detective Edward Tolliver.
NEWS
March 7, 2012 | By Jeff Gammage, Inquirer Staff Writer
Martin Overline doesn't like to brag, so he leaves it to others to say what he will not: He ranks among the best mouse men on the East Coast. He doesn't breed mice or collect them for study. He kills them. Sends them on their furry, four-footed journey to that giant mousetrap in the sky. And metes out similar fates to other creeping, crawling pests. In Philadelphia, Overline is an exterminator extraordinaire, the go-to, get-rid-of-'em guy for some of the region's major universities, corporations, and government agencies.
NEWS
November 12, 1993 | By James Cordrey, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
The borough has a problem on its hands - actually, on its roofs - and the council is calling in . . . the exterminator. Councilwoman Pat Barr told the Borough Council on Tuesday that pigeons have been nesting and leaving droppings on roofs along Moorehead Avenue. The council, which normally finds things to disagree about, unanimously decided to curb the pigeon population. It called an exterminator. "They're creating a terrible mess," said Herb Seiders, referring to the pigeons.
NEWS
April 11, 2013 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A Bucks County exterminator has been held for trial on murder charges in the January strangulation of Philadelphia pediatrician Melissa Ketunuti. Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni ordered Jason Smith, 37, of Levittown, to stand trial on a general count of murder, arson and related charges in the Jan. 21 death of Ketunuti, a pediatrician and researcher at Philadelphia's Children's Hospital. The body of Ketunuti, 35, was found on fire in the basement of her Graduate Hospital-area rowhouse by a dog walker who arrived to walk Ketunuti's dog. Philadelphia Police Homicide Det. Henry Glenn testified that Ketunuti was wearing riding boots and her hands had been bound behind her with a leather strap from horse gear.
NEWS
January 25, 2013 | By Mike Newall, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
She had an exterminator coming. Mice in the basement. Melissa Ketunuti hurried home through the morning cold, walking quickly the short distance from a parking garage to her Graduate Hospital-area rowhouse. A busy morning already. A work meeting at the hospital, errands. She clutched a CVS bag. Pooch, her black pit-bull/Lab mix of six years, would have greeted her at the door. Moments later, a tall, thin man wearing a NorthFace jacket and work gloves, carrying a work bag, walked onto the street, heading toward Ketunuti's home, out of camera view.
NEWS
January 26, 2013 | By Mike Newall, Inquirer Staff Writer
She had an exterminator coming. Mice in the basement. Melissa Ketunuti hurried home through the morning cold, walking quickly the short distance from a parking garage to her Graduate Hospital-area rowhouse. A busy morning already. A work meeting at the hospital, errands. She clutched a CVS bag. Pooch, her black pit-bull/Lab mix of six years, would have greeted her at the door. Moments later, a tall, thin man wearing a NorthFace jacket and work gloves, carrying a work bag, walked onto the street, heading toward Ketunuti's home, out of camera view.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
May 15, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
Jason Smith, the exterminator who said he was wrongly arrested and coerced into a confession, was found guilty Wednesday of strangling pediatrician Melissa Ketunuti and setting her body on fire. He was immediately sentenced to life in prison without parole. Smith, 39, who spent almost three hours testifying in his defense, was almost speechless after the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury convicted him of murder, arson, risking a catastrophe, abuse of corpse, and a weapons charge. When Judge Sandy L.V. Byrd asked the Levittown man whether he had anything to say before sentencing, Smith's voice crackled with emotion: "No, your honor.
NEWS
May 15, 2015 | BY MORGAN ZALOT, Daily News Staff Writer zalotm@phillynews.com, 215-854-5928
FRIENDS OF Dr. Melissa Ketunuti, the pediatrician strangled, bound and set ablaze in her Southwest Center City basement in January 2013, sobbed in court yesterday when a jury granted them the only comfort they could hope for - finding her killer, Jason Smith, guilty of first-degree murder. Smith, 39, a father of two, was immediately sentenced by Judge Sandy L.V. Byrd to life in prison without parole for Ketunuti's murder, plus 17 to 34 years for additional convictions of arson, abuse of a corpse, possession of an instrument of crime and risking catastrophe.
NEWS
May 10, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia prosecutors will formally close their case Monday in the murder trial of a Bucks County exterminator charged with strangling pediatrician Melissa Ketunuti and setting her body on fire. Assistant District Attorneys Jennifer Selber and Peter Lim called their final witness Friday, police Homicide Detective Edward Tolliver, who testified about the five-page confession he obtained from Jason Smith on Jan. 24, 2013. Tolliver was aggressively questioned for almost 90 minutes by defense attorney J. Michael Farrell, who challenged him for questioning Smith for five hours before formally reading Smith his constitutional right to remain silent and have a lawyer, and taking Smith's confession.
NEWS
May 6, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Philadelphia jury of six men and six women was selected Monday to hear the murder trial of a Levittown exterminator charged in the 2013 strangling of Philadelphia doctor Melissa Ketunuti. Jason Smith, 39, is accused of killing Ketunuti, 35, a pediatrician and researcher at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, during a Jan. 21, 2013, argument at her house in 1700 block of Naudain Street in the Graduate Hospital area of Center City. Smith, an independent exterminator hired by a Bucks County firm, was assigned to rid Ketunuti's rowhouse of mice.
NEWS
December 5, 2014 | By Julia Terruso, Inquirer Staff Writer
City Council members listened to skin-crawling testimony on Philadelphia's bedbug problem Wednesday before promising to form a Bed Bug Task Force to plan an attack on the pests. The hearing included testimony from city health workers, exterminators, legal services, and First District Councilman Mark Squilla, who described getting rid of bedbugs in his South Philadelphia home. The takeaway? They are everywhere. One exterminator called 2014 the worst year he has seen for bedbugs, and described residents who had to sleep in bathtubs or move out of their homes to escape them.
NEWS
December 4, 2014 | By Julia Terruso, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Council members listened to skin-crawling testimony on Philadelphia's bed bug problem Wednesday before promising to form a Bed Bug Task Force to plan an attack on the city's apple seed-sized squatters. The hearing extent of the problem included testimony from city health workers, exterminators, legal services and First District Councilman Mark Squilla, who described getting rid of bed bugs in his South Philadelphia home. The takeaway? The pests are everywhere - one exterminator called 2014 the worst year he's seen for bed bugs and described residents who had to sleep in bathtubs or move out of their homes to escape the critters.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 13, 2013 | By Alan J. Heavens, Inquirer Real Estate Writer
Question: We have moisture in the crawl space under our house in Rehoboth Beach, Del. The exterminator has been telling us this for about three years, and each year the report gets worse. My husband has faith in the builder of the house, who lives in the neighborhood. Three years ago the builder told us that the exterminator was wrong, so we ignored the warning. Now there is mold growing and other issues. We were told that the grading of soil needs to be corrected and that we need a French drain for our outside shower that is up against the house.
NEWS
April 12, 2013 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
THEY WERE the last words a Center City pediatrician ever spoke: "Please stop, please stop. I'm sorry. I'll do whatever you want. " That's according to the confession from Jason Smith, 37, the Bucks County exterminator arrested in the Jan. 21 slaying of Dr. Melissa Ketunuti. His statement to police was read aloud at his preliminary hearing Wednesday, after which Municipal Judge Teresa Carr Deni ordered Smith to stand trial for murder, abuse of a corpse and related offenses. Smith, of Levittown, told homicide detectives that he had gone to Ketunuti's home on Naudain Street near 17th to exterminate mice but that he got into an argument with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia pediatrician while explaining the problem in the basement.
NEWS
April 12, 2013 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia pediatrician Melissa Ketunuti was killed after she questioned the competence of the exterminator sent to rid her rowhouse of mice. That's what Jason Smith - who allegedly strangled Ketunuti - told detectives in a teary five-page Jan. 24 confession. Smith's statement was read Wednesday at a preliminary hearing where Smith was held for trial on murder, arson, and related charges by Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni. "She said that I shouldn't be an exterminator, that I didn't know what I was doing," said Smith, 37, of Levittown, in a statement read by homicide detective Edward Tolliver.
NEWS
April 11, 2013 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A Bucks County exterminator has been held for trial on murder charges in the January strangulation of Philadelphia pediatrician Melissa Ketunuti. Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni ordered Jason Smith, 37, of Levittown, to stand trial on a general count of murder, arson and related charges in the Jan. 21 death of Ketunuti, a pediatrician and researcher at Philadelphia's Children's Hospital. The body of Ketunuti, 35, was found on fire in the basement of her Graduate Hospital-area rowhouse by a dog walker who arrived to walk Ketunuti's dog. Philadelphia Police Homicide Det. Henry Glenn testified that Ketunuti was wearing riding boots and her hands had been bound behind her with a leather strap from horse gear.
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