Philadelphia Pediatrician Murdered by Home Repairman

Nick Fishman

criminal background checks









Few things can make you feel more vulnerable than allowing a complete stranger to come into your home. However, taking care of a home requires maintenance on occasion, whether it’s plumbing or fixing a furnace. When something breaks, it’s an immediate reaction to call someone to fix it right away. In the back of your mind you might be thinking-can I really trust this person? The majority of the time the answer is most likely yes. However, stories like this one bring anxiety to many I’m sure-who are you really letting into your home?

Melissa Ketunuti of Philadelphia may have had this concern when she allowed Jason Smith, an exterminator, into her home on January 21st. According to Philly News, Ketunuti was found “strangled, bound, and set on fire in her Graduate Hospital-area home.” Smith was a subcontractor for Dave Bilyk Exterminators and told police he booked the call through them.

In Texas, Lucia Bone heard about the case and related to her own experience when her sister, Sue Weaver was killed by an air conditioner repairman in her Florida home in 2001. Lucia started a nonprofit –Sue Weaver CAUSE after her sister’s death to encourage businesses to conduct full criminal background checks on employees who work in homes (check out a podcast ESIQ president, Jason Morris did with Lucia a few years ago.) A few other cases in recent years include:

  • In 1999 in Rhode Island, a 66-year-old grandmother was found beaten to death in the upstairs bathtub of her home. A worker from the company hired to build a first-floor addition was convicted.
  • In 2005 in New York state, a woman was raped and murdered by the worker assigned by a house-painting contractor to power-wash her backyard deck.
  • In 2006 in Florida, two elderly people were stabbed to death and a third was injured by a lawn-service worker.
  • In 2009 in California, a landscape contractor was charged with murder and attempted murder after attacking a husband and wife, killing the woman and injuring the man.

So how can you put your mind at ease?

1. If you feel uncomfortable in any way-whether it’s by appearance or a gut instinct, don’t let the worker into your home, after all, it is your home.

2. Before you even ask a company to send someone to your home, ask them-is this person a contract worker? Do they conduct criminal record background checks on their employees?

You might want a problem in your house fixed immediately, but with stories like these, you can’t afford to be reckless when allowing someone into your home. Don’t assume every employer does a background check on their employees or contractors. However, you should also be aware that only 21% of murders committed in 2011 were by strangers. Nonetheless that’s almost a quarter of all murders-and businesses should pay attention to messages like Lucia’s and conduct a criminal background check on all of their workers.

For more information, read the original article here.




Nick Fishman
Follow Me

Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
Follow Me
  • You are completely correct is stating that it is YOUR home, and you have the right to feel comfortable and safe there. It is so important that you question the company you hire to make sure they do background checks and whether the person they are sending is a full time or contracted employee.

    If their answers don’t satisfy you, don’t hire them! While, as you state, the number of murders committed by strangers is low, it will not feel that way if you or someone you know is part of that 21%.

    I also encourage anyone that is hiring other types of “in home” workers (in-home caregivers, babysitters and nannies, ,etc.) also request background checks, or get them done yourself. Your family and their safety is the priority!

  • Pingback: Weekly Wrap Up: February 8, 2013 | EmployeeScreenIQ Blog()