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Friends, Family Say Murder Suspect Was Troubled

Several who knew Crabtree resident Jason Smith, who is accused of murdering a Philadelphia doctor, say he had temper issues in his past.

Prior to his arrest on charges of murder last week, Levittown pest exterminator Jason Smith had a relatively clean criminal record. However, several people close to the 36-year-old father said he had a somewhat troubled past.

A former friend of Smith’s who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Patch that the Crabtree section resident could have a temper, but murder was not something he felt his old friend was capable of.

Smith's fiance, who shared the two-story Crabtree section house with him, her young daughter and other family members, told 6abc the whole family is upset and knew nothing about the her partner of six year's alleged crime until authorities took him away and shot the family dog Wednesday night.

On the WebSlueths.com message board, a user who identified herself as the ex-wife of Smith’s brother wrote a post on her reaction to the arrest of her ex-brother-in-law. The website is a true-crime discussion website.

“To be honest, as shocked as I am, I am not surprised. He has had issues for many years,” the poster wrote. “I also would not be surprised if he becomes a real suspect in other crimes.”

According 6abc.com, a friend of the suspect said Smith was fond of setting things on fire. The former friend Patch spoke with confirmed the contents of the 6abc report but failed to elaborate on specifics.

A source close to Smith’s family said the suspect had lost his temper in the past and has a juvenile record. The court records from Smith’s youth are sealed.

In a phone interview with NBC 10 reporter Deanna Durante, Smith’s cousin, George, said the 36-year-old suffers from “mental issues and substance abuse issues.”

Smith’s next-door Crescent Lane neighbor said the suspect was a always helpful and a "nice guy."

Angie’s List reviews of the Newtown pest control company that Smith subcontracted for even featured glowing reviews of an employee named Jason. It has not been confirmed if the reviews are referring to Jason Smith.

“If I ever need an exterminator again, I know exactly who I will be calling!” one Angie’s List review discovered by PhillyMag.com said of Jason.

Smith, according to media reports, confessed to brutally murdering and then burning the hogtied body of 35-year-old Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia doctor Melissa Ketunuti shortly after being taken into custody in Bristol Township on Wednesday. Philadelphia police said the incident started when an argument between the doctor and exterminator went “terribly wrong.”

"People like Mr. Smith basically walk around with a huge chip on their shoulders, and they feel so inadequate and insecure that at any perceived belittlement of them will set them off," former FBI Special Agent Brad Garrett said on ABC’s Good Morning America.

Questions on what the fatal argument was about still linger and police have not yet released those details.

Smith was arraigned late Thursday and is being held without bail on charges of murder, arson, abuse of a corpse and risking a catastrophe.

The same evening that Smith was arraigned in Philadelphia, friends and collugues of the victim gathered near her home to hold a vigil and share their memories. 

"Melissa was a source of joy to everyone in her life. Her passing has left an enormous gap in our lives, and the family requests privacy to mourn during this difficult time," read a statement released Friday by the young doctor's family.

Related:

  • Police: Exterminator Murders Young Doctor During Argument
  • Levittown Man Person of Interest in Murder of CHOP Doctor
chocolate thunda January 28, 2013 at 07:26 PM
maybe in the future when the police decide to show up at someone's house they should have an animal control officer arrive with them. I don't agree with the dog being killed at all. was it barking at them like normal dogs do when people show up at the house or was it literally attacking them. Don't think we will ever know exactly what happened. these days people pull the "insanity" card to make an excuse for committing a crime of this nature. It's bull and a cowardly attempt to receive a lighter sentence. He gruesomely murdered someone and that's that
Donna Toner January 28, 2013 at 10:03 PM
The police should take a taser or tranquilzer for what they deem aggresssive animals. I am sadded and disgusted they killed the defenseless animal. Happy the killer is behind bars, I do not agree with the way police handle certain situations, sad that the family and children had to witness this violence.So polie if you are listening tranqulize or taser, I do not believe the dog attacked, I walk dogs and know this not to be true.
Donna Toner January 28, 2013 at 10:12 PM
@Michelle Moore I think it is ignorant of you to insinuate that if it is a Pit or type of breed that has Pit mx it is okay to kill the dog? Really? Did you know that the murdered Dr. also had a Pit mix? You are mean and obviosly do not like animals, so please stop making comments that are not true abot Pit breeds, many,many people have them.
Donna Toner January 28, 2013 at 10:16 PM
You obviously do not like dogs. Please do not make blanket statements about Pit and Pit Mix breeds. Many,Many people have them, including the Dr. who Jason Smith killed. You are mean to say this, and I think police are out of line when they kill defenseless animals. They should have a Tranqulizer gun, or Taser, this would not hurt innocent people, or children, I feel bad for the rest of his family,to see this violence that should not have happened. ,
Donna Toner January 28, 2013 at 10:19 PM
Agree, I have family in law enforcement and fight all the time @ this. The police should have a Tranqulizer Gun or Taser, then the defenseless animals will not be killed. This really upset me,at least the killer is behind bars.

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