In the course of her trial in San Diego County, the 39-year-old woman accused of killing her former stepfather after finding naked pictures of herself on his computer, took to the stand this week during the defense of her case.
In her testimony on Friday, the accused identified as Jade Janks described how she discovered the photos on Thomas Merriman’s computer while cleaning his house while the 64-year-old was in a recovery center.
“I bumped the mouse, and it shook the screen awake. There’s a picture of female breasts on the screen. I have a beauty mark on my chest, those are my breasts,” Janks said in court, according to CBS8.
The jury heard her describe what was going through her mind at the time of the discovery when she stated, “It was the most violating, awful, gut-wrenching feeling ever. I felt sick, I felt I couldn’t … even touch my own skin. I don’t know if there [are] words, not even in a movie have I seen something so sick.”
According to Janks, there are more than 100 photographs of herself in total, each of which has been cropped and divided into groups by body parts. Additionally, she also claimed some of the photos were taken when she was as young as 16, taken from on her laptop and with a digital camera she did not think he had access to.
In response to a question if she had ever shared such photos with Merriman himself, she replied, “No, no, he was my dad.”
Her testimony later stated that she got angry and poured some of the Jack Daniels on his desktop computer and destroyed it.
Janks claimed Merriman passed out after taking prescription pills and drinking whiskey after she picked him up from the recovery facility on December 31. She said that she left him in her car after nobody had helped her move him. The next morning, when she approached the vehicle, she saw he had not moved and that is when she “panicked”.
During her oath, she admitted hiding him under a pile of trash in the driveway to conceal his death, and she “didn’t really know what to do” because she knew she was the victim’s last known contact and had damaged his computer. “I didn’t want to be blamed for killing him,” she said.
Aside from denying hiring anyone to kill her stepfather, Janks also denied wanting him dead, giving him drugs, or trying to strangle him, “I would never, ever, ever do anything like that to anyone, she repeated to the jury in response to their questions.”
Intoxication with Zolpidem or Ambien was the cause of death, according to the medical examiner, which is a form of sleeping pill. It is alleged that Janks pumped him full of pills, suffocated him, and tried to make it appear as if he had overdosed.
Closing arguments for the case are expected to happen next week and parties involved are eagerly awaiting the outcome.