Homicide trial begins for girl accused of killing stepfather in Solana Seaside

VISTA, Calif. (CNS) – A Solana Seaside inside designer murdered her stepfather by drugging and strangling him, a prosecutor alleged Wednesday, whereas a protection lawyer stated the sufferer’s drug use and declining well being have been the true main elements in his dying.

Opening statements have been delivered Wednesday within the trial of Jade Sasha Janks, 39, who’s charged with the homicide of 64-year-old Thomas Merriman, the co-founder, and president of Encinitas-based nonprofit Butterfly Farms.

RELATED: Lady arrested for homicide in Solana Seaside

Prosecutors say Janks killed Merriman on Dec. 31, 2020, by a mix of strangulation, suffocation, and deadly doses of prescription drugs in an try and make it seem that he had overdosed inadvertently.

Deputy District Lawyer Jorge Del Portillo instructed jurors that whereas Merriman was hospitalized for a fall in December, Janks was cleansing his bed room and by chance discovered illicit images of herself on his laptop, which left her “distraught” and “disturbed to the core.”

The prosecutor stated that discovery spurred Janks to hatch a plan to kill Merriman, which concerned efforts to enlist a number of different individuals to help her. Del Portillo stated she admitted to killing Merriman to 2 of these individuals.

Janks’ protection lawyer, Marc Carlos, stated there was no proof Merriman’s dying was brought on by something aside from his personal documented drug use and laundry listing of well being points. Carlos pointed to the reason for dying recognized by the medical expert: acute zolpidem (in any other case often called Ambien) intoxication. The lawyer stated Merriman suffered from a drug behavior to cope with persistent ache and insomnia.

He additionally stated Janks had no motive to kill Merriman, who she commonly cared for and known as her father.

“Jade Janks liked her stepfather,” Carlos stated. “Tom Merriman liked Jade Janks. Sadly, Tom Merriman was a troubled particular person and he liked her in numerous methods.”

Carlos stated Janks was so upset by the invention of the pictures on Merriman’s laptop that she smashed the exhausting drive they have been stored on. Realizing Merriman would quickly be discharged from the hospital, Carlos stated his consumer feared what would possibly occur when Merriman found she’d seen the images.

“Tom goes to know she found one thing that’s not too flattering to him,” Carlos stated.

Del Portillo instructed jurors that Janks quickly sought the assistance of a “fixer” to help her in killing her stepfather. On the day Merriman left the hospital, Janks picked him up after which texted the “fixer” all through that day, the prosecutor stated.

“I simply dosed the hell out of him,” she allegedly texted him earlier than stopping at a shopping mall to purchase gadgets Del Portillo alleged have been used to kill Merriman.

The prosecutor stated she repeatedly reached out to the fixer for help, however the man by no means made it out to Solana Seaside.

The prosecutor alleged that she allegedly drove Merriman dwelling, the place he fell within the driveway as a result of he was so closely intoxicated by the medicine she had given him.

A neighbor seen Merriman regarded unwell and Janks stored a be aware of that encounter, which Del Portillo alleged was an effort to make sure her story was straight.

“He is waking up. I actually do not need to be the one to do that,” she allegedly texted the fixer, who organized for a good friend to return by as an alternative.

When that good friend arrived, Janks allegedly instructed the person, “I would like you to strangle him after which deliver him into the home. I will maintain the remaining,” the prosecutor stated.

The person didn’t need to become involved and left, Del Portillo stated.

One in all Janks’ pals arrived later that evening at her beckoning. Earlier than he agreed to return over, she requested him if he was coming alone, Del Portillo stated.

When he arrived, she allegedly instructed him she had killed Merriman and wanted the good friend’s assist to maneuver the physique. Del Portillo stated he did not assist Janks, and known as police the next morning.

Janks was pulled over by an officer later that day and allegedly texted the fixer, “Lose my quantity. I am getting pulled over.”


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