Surrey man held for Illinois murder

Prosecutors allege Dmitry Smirnov researched whether state had the death penalty

The location where a Surrey man is alleged to have killed an Illinois woman.

A Surrey man is accused of killing his former girlfriend in Illinois after researching the state law on the death penalty, a U.S. courtroom heard Thursday.

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that 20-year-old Dmitry Smirnov of Surrey turned himself in to police not long after he repeatedly shot Jitka Vesel in a parking lot in Oak Brook, a suburb outside of Chicago in western Illinois.

The Tribune is reporting prosecutors said Smirnov moved to the Chicago area in 2008 after meeting Vesel through an online dating service. Vesel eventually returned to a former boyfriend and Smirnov returned to Canada.

Illinois prosecutors said Smirnov started harassing her on the Internet and by phone. She filed a complaint with police after Smirnov threatened to harm her.

He returned to Illinois, buying a 40-caliber handgun and ammunition along the way, the Tribune is reporting.

He attached a GPS device to Vesel’s car and tracked her for several days, prosecutors are quoted as saying.

On Wednesday night, Smirnov approached her in a parking lot and started shooting. As he was reloading, she threw her coffee on him and fell to the ground. He continued firing, prosecutors say. She was found with numerous shots to the head and body.

Smirnov fled, but later called the Chicago police and admitted the slaying, the prosecutor said.

Police found a gun in his car and 11 casings at the scene, Berlin said.  Smirnov later provided a videotaped confession.

The prosecutor said Smirnov went through with his plan after researching to see if Illinois had the death penalty. Just weeks ago, Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation banning the death penalty in the state.

Smirnov’s next court appearance is May 9. It is possible he could get life in prison if found guilty.