December 8, 2023

Maryland Heights Residents

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San Diego interior designer Jade Janks accused of killing stepdad over nude photo

7 min read
San Diego interior designer Jade Janks accused of killing stepdad over nude photo

A San Diego interior designer is on demo for murdering her butterfly farm-proudly owning ex-stepdad just after catching him using a stolen nude photo of her as his screensaver.

Jade Janks, 39, is accused of drugging, suffocating and strangling Thomas Merriman, 64, in San Diego on New Year’s Eve 2020. She denies murder.

Janks, who operates a profitable inside style and design organization, was explained by prosecutors as currently being ‘beyond freaked out’ soon after she discovered various bare photographs of herself in Merriman’s property, just one of which he was even applying as a computer screensaver. 

Information present that Janks’ mother divorced Merriman in 2008 immediately after a number of cases of domestic abuse, though Janks and Merriman taken care of a romance. 

Deputy District Lawyer Jorge Del Portillo said: ‘This was no incident. This was murder by structure.’ In courtroom, it was alleged that Janks suffocated Merriman with a plastic bag.

Having said that, Janks’ lawyer, Marc Carlos, states that Thomas Merriman, 64, the co-founder of a common butterfly farm in Encinitas, died due to unwell wellness and his possess cocktail of sleeping supplements. His physique was discovered below a pile of trash outside of his residence on January 2.

She has pleaded not responsible to murder. If convicted, Janks could facial area existence in prison.

Jade Janks, who operated an interior design business in San Diego, allegedly drugged, suffocated and strangled her stepdad after discovering he was in possession of nude photos of her

Jade Janks, who operated an interior layout company in San Diego, allegedly drugged, suffocated and strangled her stepdad just after getting he was in possession of nude pics of her

Carlos reported: ‘The clinical examiner will not explain to you it was strangulation. The science does not guidance strangulation.’ The official cause of death was acute intoxication, reviews the San Diego Union Tribune. 

The attorney went on to say accuse Merriman of being an alcoholic who was addicted to pills. 

Carlos also explained: ‘Jade Janks cherished her stepfather. Tom Merriman beloved Jade Janks. Sad to say, Tom Merriman was a troubled particular person, and he cherished her in various approaches.’  

Merriman’s body was uncovered less than trash bags by police exterior of his residence in Solano Seaside. Officers experienced absent to the property to perform a welfare test. 

Prosecutors say that Janks told other folks that she killed Merriman. Irrespective of the actuality that her mother had long due to the fact divorced Merriman, the pair have been however close.

Thomas Merriman, pictured here, was recovering from injuries sustained after a fall when he died

Thomas Merriman, pictured in this article, was recovering from injuries sustained immediately after a tumble when he died 

Janks maintains her innocence with her lawyers arguing that Merriman died as a result of his own addiction to drugs and alcohol

Janks maintains her innocence with her attorneys arguing that Merriman died as a consequence of his individual dependancy to medication and alcohol 

Merriman was returning household on New Year’s Eve immediately after he was hospitalized due to a fall. Janks experienced picked him from a treatment facility. Her law firm reported that when he still left the facility, he was provided a supply of a variety of products. 

A several days earlier, Janks was cleaning in Merriman’s condominium when she bumped into his personal computer, waking it. That is when she observed a nude picture that she had taken many years earlier as his screensaver.

The prosecutor reported that the discovery of the pictures remaining her ‘distraught’ and ‘disturbed to the core.’ 

A former friend of Janks’, Sarah Jacobs, testified that the suspect instructed her about the picture but mentioned that did not suggest that Merriman would experience any repercussions. Jacobs explained the image as demonstrating Janks ‘scantily clad.’

Her legal professionals say that the photos were taken consensually with a boyfriend yrs previously. It is not distinct how Merriman obtained the pics. 

From there, prosecutors allege, Janks started hatching a plot to kill her stepdad. 

The prosecutor said that the discovery of the nude pics left Janks 'distraught' and 'disturbed to the core

The prosecutor claimed that the discovery of the nude pics still left Janks ‘distraught’ and ‘disturbed to the main

A few days before he was released from the hospital, Janks was cleaning in Merriman's apartment when she bumped into his computer, waking it. That's when she saw a nude photo that she had taken years previously as his screensaver

A few days ahead of he was unveiled from the clinic, Janks was cleaning in Merriman’s condominium when she bumped into his laptop or computer, waking it. That’s when she saw a nude photograph that she had taken a long time beforehand as his screensaver

In court this week, prosecutors showed messages that Janks sent to friends, one read: 'I just dosed the hell out of him. Stopping for whiskey at Dixieland to stall. LMK'

In court docket this week, prosecutors confirmed messages that Janks despatched to buddies, a single read: ‘I just dosed the hell out of him. Halting for whiskey at Dixieland to stall. LMK’

This week, prosecutors showed textual content messages in court docket that Janks sent to a variety of mates. 

They go through:

‘I just dosed the hell out of him. Halting for whiskey at Dixieland to stall. LMK.’

‘He’s waking up. I truly don’t want to be the just one to do this.’

‘I can’t carry him by yourself and I just cannot hold a kicking physique in my trunk.’

‘I am about to club him on the head as he is waking up.’ 

‘I’m not powerful more than enough. He is quite conscious now and I am on my possess.’

According to the Union Tribune, the prosecutor identified as a person of those contacted a ‘fixer-of-sorts.’ 

A friend who originally answered her call for help, Adam Siplyak, shown here, later said that he couldn't help and went to the police to report Janks

A good friend who originally answered her get in touch with for help, Adam Siplyak, demonstrated listed here, later said that he couldn’t assistance and went to the police to report Janks

Janks' lawyers say that the pictures were taken consensually with a boyfriend years previously. It's not clear how Merriman obtained the photos

Janks’ lawyers say that the images have been taken consensually with a boyfriend many years beforehand. It truly is not apparent how Merriman obtained the photographs

Her lawyer conceded that Siplyak and Janks have cuddled and kissed in the past but have not had a sexual relationship

Her law firm conceded that Siplyak and Janks have cuddled and kissed in the past but have not had a sexual connection

A good friend who did remedy her simply call for enable, Adam Siplyak, went to the household on New Year’s Eve but stated he would not enable her to get rid of the human body. The following working day, he went to the police to report what transpired. 

Janks initially explained to him that she desired aid acquiring Merriman home because he was large on capsules. Even so, when Siplyak confirmed up, she confessed what took place. 

The direct detective in the case, Lisa Brannan explained in court docket this 7 days: ‘Ms. Janks advised Mr. Siplyak that she killed her stepfather and she explained, ‘I suffocated him with a bag and I choked him.” She also said that she gave him a bunch of medicine.’

The detective continued: ‘She preferred his assistance with receiving the overall body out of her motor vehicle. She desired to just take her stepfather to his household and put him in his bed. She wanted to search like he experienced overdosed in his mattress as he had died in his bed.’

Following refusing to help her, Siplyak reported: ‘I have a son to increase.’ 

The pair then experienced a cigarette and kissed before he remaining. The suspect’s attorney mentioned that Siplyak is a recovering drug addict who has a crush on Janks. 

The law firm conceded that the pair have cuddled and kissed in the previous but have not had a sexual relationship. 

The arresting officer later on testified, San Diego Sheriff’s Workplace Matthew Gibson, he claimed that Janks was relaxed when she was arrested.

The arresting officer later testified, San Diego Sheriff's Office Matthew Gibson, he said that Janks was calm when she was arrested

The arresting officer later on testified, San Diego Sheriff’s Business office Matthew Gibson, he claimed that Janks was quiet when she was arrested

Toxicologist Raymond Gary was next to testify, he said that Merriman had high levels of the sleeping drug zolpidem in his system

Toxicologist Raymond Gary was up coming to testify, he said that Merriman experienced higher ranges of the sleeping drug zolpidem in his system

Toxicologist Raymond Gary was next to testify, he explained that Merriman had high concentrations of the sleeping drug zolpidem in his method. 

Because her arrest, Janks has been free of charge on a $1 million bail albeit with a GPS anklet. At the time her bail was set, prosecutors argued that the suspect has the economic resources to flee and connections in South Africa. 

Janks’ organic father, Steve Janks, is a native of South Africa and now lives in Southern California.  

She proprietor of a start out-up interior style and design business enterprise, Jank Janks Interiors. On the website for the corporation, she writes: ‘Your house is a reflection of you and Jade will support you specific your particular design and style as a result of a approach quick and enjoyable!’ 

A bio also claims: ‘You can depend on Jade to hold your hand and make your job a fun a single!’ Janks also says that she got her start off in interior style by doing work for her dad’s kitchen structure firm. 

Janks, shown here with her mother, Jeni, was freed earlier this year on a $1 million bail

Janks, shown in this article with her mom, Jeni, was freed earlier this calendar year on a $1 million bail 

A memorial set up to Thomas Merriman at the butterfly farm that he set up in 2013 with a friend

A memorial established up to Thomas Merriman at the butterfly farm that he set up in 2013 with a pal

Merriman and Janks’ mother Jeni married in July 1995. The few experienced a son collectively, Funds. The target experienced another daughter from a preceding connection. 

On line records present that there had been multiple instances of domestic abuse in the relationship involving 2002 and 2008. The few submitted for divorce on multiple instances during that time, eventually performing so in 2008. 

Merriman launched the Butterfly Farm, a nonprofit, in 2013 along with his friend Pat Flanagan. He instructed NBC San Diego in January: ‘Tom was just an all-around excellent dude. He loved being outdoor. He was really handy. He cared and he truly gave a good deal to the community.’

Bizarrely, in 2019 a Butterfly Farm staff, Sabrina Lukosky, was murdered by her boyfriend, Henry Simon Cowen, in their residence. Cowen was sentenced to lifetime in jail for the criminal offense in November 2021. 

Flanagan instructed ABC San Diego  in 2021: ‘The irony is not misplaced right here. Somebody arrived in and did a donation towards Sabrina, ironically, on Friday which is the similar working day evidently Tom’s human body was located.’ 

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