Man Researched Death Penalty Before Killing Woman: Prosecutors

Jitka Vesel was found shot to death Wednesday in Oak Brook parking lot

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Dmitry Smirnov

    A Canadian man did research on Illinois' death penalty before killing a woman he'd previously dated, prosecutors said Thursday.

    Dmitry Smirnov, 20, from Surrey, British Columbia, is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 36-year-old Jitka Vesel, of Westmont.

    DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said the pair met on an Internet dating site two years ago and had a brief relationship before Vesel left Smirnov for another man. 

    Prosecutors said Smirnov then moved back to Canada where he began harassing the woman online.

    "In 2009, the victim did file a police report against the defendent because he had threatened her," said Berlin.

    Two weeks ago, Smirnov drove to Seattle and purchased a gun before heading to the Chicago area, prosectors said.  He then used the Internet to find Vesel's home and put a GPS tracking device on her car.

    "He was able to use the Internet and the GPS in order to track everywhere that the victim was going," said Berlin.

    On Wednesday, that tracking device led him to the Oak Brook parking lot, outside the Czech Society of America, where Vesel was attending a meeting.

    Authorities said Smirnov waited for Vesel and shot her when she walked out to her car, hitting her in the body and head.

    Police said they received a call at about 9:41 p.m. Wednesday for an unconscious female and found Vesel in the lot of an office building near 22nd Street and Windsor Drive. She was pronounced dead on the scene.

    Smirnov not only used the Internet to track down his victim, prosecutors said, but he also researched his potential punishment.

    "The defendent did indicate that he researched whether Illinois had a death penalty and the defendent was aware that the death penalty had recently been abolished, so he knew then that he could go through with this plan," said Berlin.

    A judge on Thursday ordered Smirnov held without bail.  Because the murder appears to have been committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated way, the judge said life without parole is a possibility if Smirnov is convicted.

    Smirnov is due back in court on May 9.