Prosecutors claim that a butterfly activist drugged and strangled her estranged stepfather after discovering her naked photographs on his computer.
In January 2021, Thomas Merriman’s body was discovered at the Solana Beach, California, house he shared with his stepdaughter Jade Janks.
This week in Vista Superior Court, the murder trial for interior designer Janks, 39, who also co-founded the non-profit organization Butterfly Farms, began.
She has entered a not guilty plea to the charge of killing 64-year-old Merriman, who was allegedly given an excessive amount of sleeping medication by Janks after she learned of the pictures, one of which he allegedly used as his screensaver.
According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Jorge Del Portillo stated, “This was no accident.” “This was intentional murder.”
According to the authorities, the pictures were taken consensually more than ten years ago by Janks and her lover. How Merriman came to possess them is unknown.
Del Portillo claimed that Janks saw the pictures while cleaning her stepfather’s hospitalized apartment.
Prosecutors claimed that she texted another man about providing Merriman the pills.
“I just dosed him completely. Del Portillo claims that Janks contacted her on the day she picked up Merriman from the hospital, saying, “Stopping for whiskey then at Dixieland to stall. LMK.”
In a another text message released by the prosecutors, Janks seemed to doubt her strategy.
According to NBC San Diego, one allegedly sent text said, “He’s waking up.” I truly don’t want to take on this responsibility.
Another read, “I am ready to club him on the skull as he is waking up.”
Prosecutors claimed that Janks eventually made another request for assistance. The following day, the person made a call to the police.
As they were leaving, deputies inspected the house and discovered Merriman’s body buried beneath a heap of boxes, blankets, and other garbage.
Attorneys for Janks said Merriman died from bad health and “his own cocktail” of medications, not because Merriman killed him.
You won’t discover any proof that Janks was killed by strangulation, said Janks’ attorney Marc Carlos to the jury.