UPDATED: 4/14/11 5:00 p.m.
OAK BROOK, Ill. (CBS/WBBM) — A 20-year-old Canadian man fatally shot a Westmont woman he once dated by pinpointing her location in Oak Brook with a tracking device planted in her vehicle, prosecutors said Thursday.
Demetry Smirnov of Surrey, British Columbia, was charged with first-degree murder Thursday afternoon, according to Oak Brook police.
He is accused of the Wednesday shooting death of Jitka Vesel, 36, in a parking lot near 22nd Street and Windsor Drive in Oak Brook.
Smirnov met Vesel on an online dating site in 2008 and went out with her for a time, DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said. After they broke up, Smirnov harassed Vesel via email and cell phone and plotted her murder, the prosecutor said. He said Smirnov researched to see whether Illinois still had a death penalty before crossing into the U.S., buying a gun and shooting Vesel.
To find her Wednesday, outside the Czechoslovak Heritage Museum, Smirnov employed a GPS tracking device and shot her several times. He called Chicago police after the killing and surrendered in suburban Romeoville, later giving a videotaped confession, Berlin said.
“Clearly it was premeditated, and part of that premeditation was the defendant researching the status of the death penalty in the state of Illinois,” Berlin told reporters at a news conference in Wheaton.
State lawmakers and Gov. Pat Quinn ealrier this year abolished capital punishment in Illinois, a move that many prosecutors criticized.
Murders are extremely rare in Oak Brook, but on Wednesday night, Vesel, was found brutally shot to death in the parking lot for an office park.
As CBS 2’s Susan Carlson reports, around 9:40 p.m. Wednesday, Oak Brook police were dispatched after someone called 911 about an unconscious woman in the parking lot for the Windsor Office Park, near 22nd Street and Windsor Drive. Upon arriving, officers found Vesel dead from multiple gunshot wounds.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts reports
Prosecutors said Smirnov had served in the Canadian military but was most recently an unemployed computer technician.
At the time they met online, Vesel was 33 and he was 17. They had a brief relationship, which prosecutors say ended when she went back to an old boyfriend.
Smirnov moved back to Canada but remained obsessed with the older woman. Prosecutors said she filed a harassment complaint against Smirnov in 2009.
Judge Michael Wolfe denied bail to Smirnov. He returns to court May 9.
An acquaintance of Vesel, who contacted WBBM, said she was “a pleasant, bubbly person,” and said the murder was “a shame.”
People who live and work near the murder scene were disturbed to hear about the killing.
“I did hear, and I thought, ‘I wonder where that’s going to be in relation to where I’m going to be today,” said Sue Rand, who woks nearby. “It is bizarre, because this is a very nice area.”
Jason Lewis lives in the area.
“It’s a little shocking,” Lewis said. “It’s unexpected, as you know, and so it draws a little concern. I would imagine that it’s someone that knows her, because this sort of thing just doesn’t happen.”
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.