25 Years for CA Woman in Killing of Stepdad Who Collected Her Nude Pics

Jade Sasha Janks, 39, drugged, suffocated, and choked her stepfather to death after finding nudes pics of herself on his computer
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A San Diego woman who discovered nude photos of herself on her stepfather’s computer, was found guilty on Wednesday of murdering him by giving him drugs, suffocating him with a plastic bag, and then choking him to death.

Jade Sasha Janks, a 39-year-old interior designer, appeared to be in shock when she was convicted been convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder against her stepfather, a butterfly conservationist, according to NBC News. She appeared to be in shock over the verdict, read by a San Diego County jury.

Janks is looking at 25 years to life in prison for the killing of Thomas Merriman, 64, who was the co-founder of Butterfly Farms, in Encitas. Janks’, who was free on bail, was immediately taken into custody. Her defense attorney Marc Carlos says he is exploring all opportunities for appeal.

Merriman was killed on December 31, 2020, hours after Janks had picked him up from a rehab facility he had been sent to following a fall, according to NBC San Diego. A short time later, Janks discovered the photos on his computer. A damning text Janks sent to a friend, which was read to the jury, stated, “I just dosed the hell out of him.”

Janks’ defense argued that Merriman suffered from bad health and habitual drug abuse. Merman’s official cause of death was an overdose of prescription sleep medication.

The Merriman-Janks family was a troubled one. Janks was 11 years-old when her mother married Merriman, and 19 when he filed for divorce, according to the San Diego Reader.

In a court filing, Merriman claimed that on Christmas day 2002, his wife threw “all of my step-daughter’s belongings (clothes, toiletries, paintings, etc) off the 2nd floor balcony into the parking lot. She is increasingly violent and verbally abusive… She has been ransacking the house and is delusional.”

Merriman’s wife responded in a declaration: “I caught my husband using meth in the garage and in an awkward position with Jade, my daughter from a previous relationship.”

In 1994, the year before he married Janks’ mother, Thomas Merriman was accused of raping a woman. Although a jury found him not guilty on four felony rape charges, he was found guilty on one count of battery.

Janks believed she did not commit any crime.

“The reason why Jade went to trial was she believed she was not guilty of this thing and that’s been her position through the whole case,” Janks’ attorney, Marc Carlos, told NBC.

“It’s just a surreal situation to be in,” he continued. “When the jury walks in, hands the note to the judge, the judge reads the note and then the note goes over to the clerk and the clerk begins to read it, it’s like an eternity. So it has a lot of psychological stress.”

Jurors discarded lesser charges such as manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter, which could have permitted the judge to consider “mitigating circumstances.”

Janks will next appear in court on April 3.


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