WHEATON (CBS) — A Canadian man who methodically stalked and then murdered a former girlfriend after first researching whether Illinois had the death penalty will spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty Friday.
Dmitry Smirnov, 21, of British Columbia, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in connection with the April, 2011 slaying of Jitka Vesel, 36, of Westmont. The two met through an online dating service in 2008 and had ended their relationship three years prior, according to the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s office.
Smirnov waited in the parking lot of an office building at 122 W. 22nd St. in Oak Brook for Vesel to leave a meeting, then approached as she entered her car. He shot her multiple times with a gun he had illegally purchased, the fled the scene, a release from the state’s attorney’s office said.
Smirnov turned himself into authorities several hours later.
Smirnov had attempted to plead guilty during a court appearance on Monday, but the announcement was so surprising that neither Judge Blanche Fawell nor prosecutors were ready to immediately accept the plea. Prosecutors asked for more time to notify Vesel’s relatives.
Smirnov, who lived near Vancouver, allegedly researched Illinois law to determine that the state had abolished the death penalty before he drove to the area.
He glued a GPS tracking device to Vesel’s car and followed her for several days before ambushing her as she left her job at a Czech fraternal organization in Oak Brook.
Smirnov is being held without bond in the DuPage County Jail.