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Woman accused of killing stepdad after 'finding naked pictures of her on his computer'

Woman accused of killing stepdad after 'finding naked pictures of her on his computer'

Jade Janks is accused of killing Thomas Merriman on New Year's Eve 2020 after finding nude pictures of her on his computer.

A woman has been accused of killing her stepdad after reportedly finding nude pictures of herself on his computer.

Jade Janks, 39, allegedly strangled, drugged and killed her 64-year-old stepfather, Thomas Merriman, on New Year’s Eve 2021 at their home in Solana Beach, California, US, prosecutors say.

Merriman died in the back of Janks’ SUV and she testified that he was alive when she left her car parked in her driveway on New Year’s Eve. His body was found underneath a large pile of trash in the driveway by deputies.

Prosecutors led by Jorge Del Portillo say that Janks was left ‘beyond freaked out’ when she found the nude images in his possession.

Jade Janks in court last week.
ABC 10 San Diego

They claimed that Merriman died because of a sleeping pill overdose given to him by his stepdaughter after she'd found the images.

According to the prosecution, she had planned to kill him and make it look like an accident.

However Janks’ attorney, Marc Carlos, told jurors that her former stepfather was a substance abuser who died as a result of a combination of poor health and ‘his own cocktail’ of pills.

Carlos also claimed that there is no evidence of strangulation.

Janks has pleaded not guilty and testified on Friday (16 December) at Vista Superior Court, saying she never confronted her stepfather about the ‘hundreds’ of nude photos of her on his computer, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

Janks and Merriman lived in neighbouring properties and she was tidying his apartment during his recovering, which led to the horrific discovery.

She said: “It was the most violating, awful, gut-punching feeling ever, I felt sick.”

Janks had picked him up from a care facility on New Year’s Eve, where he had been due to a fall, and drove him home, destroying his computer while he was away.

She also claimed that Merriman died before she had a chance to confront him about the nude images.

Merriman had nude pictures of his stepdaughter.
ABC 10 San Diego

Janks said that some of the pictures, which are allegedly from her late teens and mid-20s, had been found by her stepfather on her computer and stolen them, while others may have originated from a long-lost digital camera and memory card.

Before she picked him up from the care facility, she contacted a man, who been referred to her for security, and he said he would help her confront Merriman. However, the man allegedly didn’t show up.

On the drive home from the care facility, they had stopped to buy whiskey and once at home, he had already ingested the whiskey and prescription drugs.

Janks testified in court.
CBS 8 San Diego/YouTube

The jury was shown text messages from Janks to people she sought help from after picking him up.

“I just dosed the hell out of him,” one text reads.

Another said: “I can’t carry him alone and I can’t keep a kicking body in my trunk.”

But Janks said the texts were not what they seemed and she simply needed help getting her stepdad out of the car.

She said that she left him in her car after no one came to help and 'panicked' when she checked the car.

The trial continues this week.

Featured Image Credit: ABC 10 San Diego

Topics: True Crime, News