Interior design business owner Jade Janks has been found guilty of drugging and then strangling her former stepdad, despite claiming her innocence throughout the entire high-profile trial.
Janks, 39, was convicted of the first-degree murder of Tom Merriman after the California jury deliberated for less than a full day.
Janks had maintained that Merriman, 64, died of an illness.
She did admit to finding more than 100 nude photos of herself on his computer and being horrified about it. The photos reportedly involved Jenks’ boyfriend at the time, were consensual and were taken more than a decade ago.
One of the photos was Merriman’s screensaver, according to reports.
Jade Janks Allegedly Killed Her Stepfather Over Nude Photos
Prosecutors said that Janks found the photos on his computer while cleaning his apartment. While Merriman and Janks’ mother had split, the two reportedly remained close.
At the time, Merriman was in the hospital with a brief illness. Janks sent several texts that prosecutors presented, indicating she had been trying to kill him.
One read that she “dosed the hell out of him” after picking him up from the hospital. She also threatened to “club him on the head as he is waking up” in a text.
Janks then confessed to two separate people that she had killed him, prosecutors said.
“This was no accident,” Deputy District Attorney Jorge Del Portillo told jurors in the North County Superior Court. “This was murder by design.”
Janks’ attorney, Marc Carlos, told reporters after the trial that there was “zero” evidence she had strangled Merriman.
“Jade Janks loved her stepfather,” Carlos said. “Tom Merriman loved Jade Janks. Unfortunately, Tom Merriman was a troubled individual, and he loved her in different ways.”