Authorities: Man who sold gun in Oak Brook murder indicted

Updated 2/14/2012 10:30 PM
  • Dmitry Smirnov of British Columbia pleaded guilty to the April 2011 murder of Jitka Vesel of Westmont.

    Dmitry Smirnov of British Columbia pleaded guilty to the April 2011 murder of Jitka Vesel of Westmont.

About 10 months after Canadian citizen Dmitry Smirnov murdered 36-year-old Jitka Vesel outside her Oak Brook office, the man who illegally sold the handgun to Smirnov has been indicted, authorities said.

Bedendict Ladera, 31, of Kent, Wash., just outside Seattle, is scheduled to appear in court Thursday. A federal grand jury indicted Ladera for the illegal sale of a .40 caliber handgun to a nonstate resident, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Ladera, who is not a licensed gun dealer, sold the handgun to Smirnov in early April 2011, prosecutors said.

On the night of April 13, Smirnov shot 36-year-old Vesel of Westmont 12 times at close range in what prosecutors called a premeditated murder.

Smirnov told a judge Vesel, whom he had dated in 2008, deserved to die for "dumping" him, and he later asked a judge for a life sentence as he entered a guilty plea.

Authorities said Ladera did not know of Smirnov's plan to stalk and murder Vessel when he sold him the handgun.

DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin, whose office prosecuted Smirnov, praised authorities in Washington for their work to close another chapter in the case.

"I support the 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms, but there's an issue when people sell guns illegally," he said. "In this case, it's clear Dmitry Smirnov purchased that gun for one reason -- and that was to kill the victim. Who knows how many other murders and violent crimes they might have stopped indicted this illegal gun seller? We will never know."

Illegal transfer of a firearm to a nonstate resident is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

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