Exterminator goes on trial in Philadelphia pediatrician’s death

An exterminator has gone on trial in the strangulation death of a globe-trotting pediatrician who hired him to address a mice problem at her Philadelphia home.

A prosecutor said Wednesday that 35-year-old Melissa Ketunuti had visited Botswana as she studied tuberculosis, HIV and other diseases.

The native of Thailand was researching infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia when she was killed in January 2013.

Authorities say exterminator Jason Smith admitted killing her after the two argued over his work.

Assistant District Attorney Peter Lim has told jurors in opening statements that Smith used the victim’s equestrian equipment to tie her up and then set fire to her body.

Defense lawyer Michael Farrell says not everyone who confesses to a crime actually did it.

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