A California inside designer stands accused of murdering her stepfather after she discovered he had nude footage of her on his pc.
Jade Janks, 39, has pleaded not responsible to homicide costs within the demise of 64-year-old Thomas Merriman, a butterfly activist. Mr Merriman’s physique was present in January 2021 beneath a pile of trash within the driveway of Ms Janks’ Solana Seaside dwelling after a good friend of hers alerted authorities that she had allegedly confessed to the killing, The Coast Information reported.
Prosecutors have argued in the course of the trial, which started final week, that Ms Janks drugged and strangled Mr Merriman after discovering he had a nude image of her as a screensaver on his pc. The photographs had been taken by Ms Janks and her then-partner a decade in the past — it’s not clear how Mr Merriman gained entry to them.
Ms Janks’ defence attorneys argued that Mr Merriman’s poor well being and previous drug use had been contributing elements to his demise, which was dominated to be intoxication by Ambien.
“This was no accident,” San Diego County Deputy District Legal professional Jorge Del Portillo mentioned, per the San Diego Union-Tribune. “This was homicide by design.”
Two buddies of Ms Janks testified that they had been referred to as to her dwelling when Mr Merriman suffered a fall in December 2020. They reportedly helped Mr Merriman to a automotive earlier than he was transported to get medical consideration.
When he was hospitalised, Ms Janks got here throughout her nude photographs on her stepfather’s pc whereas cleansing his room.
“Jade Janks beloved her stepfather,” the defence argued. “ …sadly, Tom Merriman was a troubled particular person, and he beloved her in several methods.”
Ms Janks’ good friend, Adam Siplyak, additionally mentioned in court docket that she had allegedly informed him Mr Merriman’s physique was within the trunk of her automotive on New Yr’s Eve 2020. Ms Janks reportedly requested Mr Spilyak for assist to maneuver the physique to Mr Merriman’s room.
“She mentioned, ‘I killed him, and he’s at the back of my 4Runner,’” Mr Siplyak informed the court docket. “I mentioned, ‘I can’t make it easier to … no approach, I’m out of right here. I’ve a son to lift.’”
The following day, Mr Siplyak contacted the police. Mr Merriman’s physique was found at Ms Jank’s dwelling in Solana Seaside on 2 January 2021.
Prosecutors confirmed texts despatched from Ms Janks’ telephone to a number of folks, together with a “fixer of types,” in response to NBC.
One of many texts learn: “I simply dosed the hell out of him. Stopping for whiskey then at Dixieland to stall. LMK.”
Mr Merriman was decided to have died on account of acute intoxication by Ambien, however prosecutors argued that Ms Janks allegedly tried to asphyxiate him with a plastic bag.
Mr Merriman was a co-founder of the training and analysis nonprofit Butterfly Farms. The defence argued that though he was not married to Ms Janks’ mom, she had cared for him earlier than his demise.
If convicted, Ms Janks faces a sentence of life in jail.
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