A Kent man was sentenced to 366 days in prison and three years of supervised release Friday for illegally selling a gun online that was used in a 2011 murder in Chicago.
The sentence is related to the April 2011 murder of Jitka Vesel, a 36-year-old woman living in a Chicago suburb who was shot 12 times by Dmitry Smirnov, a man she met on an Internet daiting site.
The murder got national and international attention because of how Smirnov obtained the gun he used to kill Vesel. Smirnov bought the gun through a website called armslist.com, which facilitates private purchases without a background check.
What made Smirnov's purchase illegal, however, was the fact that he lived in Canada. He bought it from Benedict Ladera, 31, of Kent. While the transaction would have been perfectly legal if Ladera had sold the gun to another American, Canada's gun laws are much more restrictive, and all sales are strictly monitored by that country's police.
According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Ladera knew Smirnov was not a state resident when he sold the gun – in fact he accepted an extra $200 for the gun knowing Smirnov was Canadian.
Ladera, who pleaded guity in March, told KING 5 News that when he sold the gun, he had last his job and was selling all his possessions to pay his bills. He said he had no idea that Smirnov was planning to use the gun to commit murder.
Ladera's sentence will begin in 60 days.