(CBS/AP) PHILADELPHIA - Authorities say Melissa Ketunuti, a Philadelphia pediatrician, pleaded for her life as she was strangled by Jason Smith, an exterminator working in her home this year.
That's according to a statement from the 37-year-old Smith that police read in court Wednesday. A judge ordered Smith held for trial on charges including murder and arson.
According to Smith's statement, he attacked the 35-year-old Ketunuti in the basement of her downtown Philadelphia home Jan. 21 after she criticized his work.
The statement says Smith choked her, tied her up and set a fire to destroy evidence. Surveillance video from nearby businesses helped lead to Smith's arrest a few days later at his Levittown home.
Smith's lawyer did not immediately return a request for comment.
Ketunuti was a researcher at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.