Interior Designer Found Guilty of Murdering Stepfather After Finding Nude Photos of Her on His Computer – Crime Online
A California interior designer has been found guilty of killing her stepfather after finding nude photos of her on his computer.
Prosecutors say 39-year-old Jade Janks drugged Tom Merriman and strangled him on December 31, 2020, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
The jury in her week-long murder trial deliberated a little more than a day before returning with a guilty verdict for first degree murder, KFMB reported.
Janks pleaded not guilty to murder but admitted she was very upset when she found hundreds of nude photos, organized by body part and some dating to when she was 16 years old, on Merriman’s computer when she was cleaning his home.
“It was the most violating, awful, gut-wrenching feeling ever. I felt sick, I felt I couldn’t… even touch my own skin. I don’t know if there [are] words, not even in a movie have I seen something so sick,” she testified during the trial.
It’s not known how Merriman got the images on his computer. Some of them were said to have been consensual photos taken more than a decade earlier by Janks’ then boyfriend.
Her attorneys argued that Merriman was alcoholic who often mixed his drinks with sleeping pills and that there was no evidence he was strangled.
The official cause of death was acute intoxication by the sedative zolpidem, the generic form of Ambien, KNSD reported.
Prosecutors, however, argued that Merriman’s death “was no accident.”
“This was murder by design,” San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Jorge Del Portillo told jurors, according to KFMB.
Prosecutors revealed text messages Janks sent after she picked him up from the hospital — she was his caretaker — on the day he died.
“I just dosed the hell out of him. Stopping for whiskey then at Dixieland to stall. LMK,” one text allegedly sent by Janks read.
Janks faces 25 years to life in prison at sentencing, set for April 3.
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[Featured image: Jade Janks/Instagram]
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