- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

3:30 p.m.

A Philadelphia medical professor who met with Dr. Melissa Ketunuti hours before she was killed has testified at the trial of the exterminator charged with strangling her.

Dr. Susan Coffin said Wednesday that Ketunuti was excited about her planned fellowship project studying HIV and tuberculosis in Botswana.

Exterminator Jason Smith is charged with killing Ketunuti in January 2013 during an argument in her basement over his work.

Coffin says she met with the young pediatrician that morning at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

She says Ketunuti was from Thailand and was interested in doing humanitarian work overseas.

She says she had a calm demeanor and worked well with sick children and their stressed parents.

Ketunuti’s mother has started a memorial fund to allow other young doctors to pursue global health fellowships.

___

1 p.m.

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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