Murder suspect met Westmont victim online

Demetry Smirnov

April 14, 2011 6:58:17 PM PDT
A Canadian man is accused of fatally shooting a woman he met online in southwest suburban Oak Brook.

Demetry Smirnov, 20, of British Columbia, was charged with first-degree murder Thursday for allegedly killing Jitka Vesel, 36, of Westmont, Ill. A DuPage County judge denied Smirnov bond.

Officials say after using an Internet website and a GPS tracking device to locate Vesel, Smirnov waited in a parking lot at 122 W. 22nd Street Wednesday night for her as she left a meeting. He then allegedly shot Vesel multiple times. Smirnov turned himself in to police several hours later.

Authorities say Smirnov came to the Chicago area roughly two weeks ago, picking up a .40-caliber weapon and ammunition, with the intent of murdering Vesel.

"This murder was committed pursuant to a preconceived plan or scheme or design to take a life by unlawful means," said DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin.

Smirnov met Vesel through an online dating service. They briefly dated in 2008 but Vesel broke up with Smirnov to begin dating an old boyfriend.

Officials say that Smirnov had been harassing Vesel by telephone, cell phone and e-mail since their break-up, which led her at one point to file a police report in 2009. No order of protection was put in place.

Authorities say Smirnov researched whether Illinois had a death penalty before the murder.

"The defendant was aware that the death penalty had recently been abolished. So he knew then that he could go through with his plan," Berlin said.

Vesel was a translator and worked at CSA Fraternal Life, formerly the Czechoslovak Society of America, which according to its website is America's oldest fraternal benefit society.

If convicted, Smirnov could face anywhere from 20 to 60 years or life in prison. His next court date is in May.