January 25th, 2013 08:00 EST
Who Is Jason Smith Really, an Exterminator Charged with Melissa Ketunuti`s Murder?
Who is Jason Smith, really, the suspect in Melissa Ketunuti`s Monday afternoon strangulation? Mugshot eyes look glassy; is he hooked on prescription pills? Little record, a 2004 DUI, maybe traffic citations, but no major felony arrests, until Wednesday night`s arrest in Levittown, which is 25 miles northeast of Philadelphia. Superb and fast investigative work by the Philadelphia Homicide Unit, as reported by Capt. James Clark at news conference Thursday. Yet, what do we have here really?
I mean, to put it bluntly, is this a one off for Jason Smith, or has he been doing some creepy stuff before, using his exterminating job as a cover for prior crimes, such as thievery or perhaps sexual assault? And what about Dave Bilyk Exterminators, who he contracted with? Why didn`t this pest control company suspect what mischief this Jason Smith character was up to? Or was he a smooth operator?
Technology is what solved this crime. Thank goodness for all the surveillance cameras around the upscale Rittenhouse neighborhood! Jason Smith is seen entering Melissa Ketunuti`s Naudian Street townhouse, just before she`s killed, then leaving about an hour later, his appearance rather changed, having removed a jacket. Then he gets in his silver Ford F-150 and circles the block a few times, no doubt, to see if the fire is beginning to blaze in ernest!
One of the primary means detectives employed to nab Jason Smith, is through photo-imaging technology. As such, or the way I understand it, they matched video images of the suspect with the driver`s license data base, which must be enormous. Once they got a hit, they found out where he lived and worked. Then, I suppose, they were able to confirm he`d booked a job (through Dave Bilyk Exterminators) at Melissa`s residence on Inauguration and MLK Day.
Had him tied up in a knot several ways! I don`t suppose a drug-addled Jason thought they`d catch up with him? If he did believe he got away clean, he must be one stupid junky urchin of a criminal! Moreover, they had Melissa`s cell phone call to him; we even have him walking down the street, following Melissa on the 21st (I understand). Duh! What a dummy! Yet people who are hooked on drugs don`t behave so rationally; that`s a no brainer.
The first thing I thought of when I heard of Jason Smith`s arrest, was the classic case of The Boston Strangler (Albert DeSalvo), which began in 1962. I won`t review that fascinating case for you here, since I know your very familiar with it. Especially the movie, starring Tony Curtis and Henry Fonda! Alright, so maybe the connection is not all that strong, but the analogy does work in some fashion. One obvious difference, is that back in 1962, there weren`t any surveillance cameras about the busy streets of Boston.
One clear connection, however, is the way the Boston Strangler used his maintenance job to get access to women`s residences. He was quite good at breaking and entering, and had some talent in his application of burglary tools, slipping locks and conning his way into lady`s apartments. I chill to think on it, but some of it is coming back to me now. So, was Jason up to some of this before? And what about his home life, which looks very proper from an initial examination? Albert DeSalvo was happily married, until we dig deeper into a mind that was most disturbed. What trouble will we find with Mr. Smith?