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Jury selection begins in trial of exterminator charged in Philadelphia pediatrician's slaying


PHILADELPHIA — Jury selection has begun for the trial of a man charged in the strangulation slaying of a Philadelphia pediatrician in Center City about two years ago.

Thirty-nine-year-old Jason Smith of Levittown is charged in the death of 35-year-old Melissa Ketunuti in January 2013.

Authorities said Smith was working as an exterminator in the row home where the victim lived. They allege that after Ketunuti criticized his work, he became angry and strangled her, then set fire to her body to try to cover up the crime.

The Philadelphia Inquirer ( ) reports that Common Pleas Court Judge Sandy Byrd said testimony will begin Wednesday if prosecutors and defense attorney J. Michael Farrell are able to select a jury of 12 and two alternates by then.

Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer,

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