XIII - Much Better - Sadness - A Very Different Perspective


A California interior designer was convicted of first-degree murder Wednesday after prosecutors said she killed her butterfly conservationist stepfather when she found nude photos of herself on his computer.

…Janks, who had been free on bail, was immediately taken into custody and faces between 25 years to life in prison for the slaying of 64-year-old Thomas Merriman, co-founder of Butterfly Farms in Encinitas.

Merriman was killed on Dec. 31, 2020, not long after Janks found the compromising photos on Merriman's computer.

Janks drugged Merriman and then suffocated him with a plastic bag and choked him to death, prosecutors said. A text message Janks sent to an acquaintance the day of Merriman's death, and shown to jurors, read: "I just dosed the hell out of him."

Janks' defense insisted Merriman died from poor health and his own chronic drug abuse. Merriman's official cause of death was listed as an overdose of prescription sleep medication.

….Jurors also rejected lesser charges such as manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter, which could have allowed a judge to consider mitigating circumstances at sentencing.

As it stands now, Janks is facing a mandatory 25 to life when she's next in court on April 3.


Her mom and Merriman had already separated in the past, but the families reportedly remained close despite the divorce.

Prosecutors told the court that Janks found her private photo in Merriman’s computer when she went to clean his house after he was admitted to the hospital due to a fall. Merriman also allegedly used one of the inappropriate photos as the screensaver of his computer.

Reports suggest that the photographs were reportedly taken with consent by Janks’ former boyfriend nearly a decade ago. However, it remains unknown how her stepfather accessed the images.

….. Deputy District Attorney Jorge Portillo claimed that Jade Janks was “beyond freaked out” after seeing her private photos on her stepfather’s computer and immediately plotted to kill him. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Janks admitted to being horrified by the discovery but denied the murder allegations.



Reading the comments from the murder conviction on Yahoo, I noted that the comments varied from:

1.    “How did he get the pictures?” to

2.    “She didn’t need to do anything to him.” To

3.    “She could have physically hurt him, but didn’t need to kill him.”

Perhaps I’m prejudiced in this!   I have a long history related to being active on the issue of rape, and the pictures certainly related to sexual abuse or potential sexual abuse.  My 1987 writing: “Building and Sustaining a Healthy MeShn’s Anti-Rape Group”  speaks of some of this.   Being Autistic – might also be relevant.

I see things very, very differently!

I doubt that the defense attorney “got it” – related to his client, Jade Sasha Janks.

I have no idea whether the defendant “should” have killed her ex-father-in-law or not!

I presume, and I could be wrong, that the defendant had very strong reactions – that she was enraged that her ex – had the nude pictures – one being on his screensaver – might have made a horrible situation for her – even worse.

She may have had flashbacks – related to consenting to the pictures being taken in the first place.    Janks may have been reminded of a variety of difficult feelings related to the relationship with this ex – itself.

Do I know any of this?

Of course not!

I presume that:

1.    Her likely killing of a man she knew very well who was in failing health and:

2.    Her disbelief – and consenting to a defense as she did

showed likely evidence of something – reasonably deep.  

I feel empathy for her!   I am sad – at what she faces!

There are no “winners” in this!   Her likely jail time will hurt her (she was out on bail before her conviction).   None of this will bring back or really “give justice” for the deceased, if there could have been any justice.

I appreciate – that I can feel the sadness I feel in this moment as I write this!    There is NO Comparison in this (which I may even forget about relatively soon) – to what I feel now – related to another death – that really shook me – of someone I also never knew (see: Lost in My Sadness and LET GEORGE DO IT!)

Life is Great!   (It isn’t always easy, but it is most meaningful!)


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