Jade Small
Jade Small
March 30, 2024 ·  3 min read

Woman accused of killing stepfather describes finding her nude photos on his computer

Murder is not something to be taken lightly. This is why murder cases are often drawn out over an extended period of time, ensuring they lock up the right person. One woman was accused of killing her stepfather. She pleaded not guilty and told how she found pictures of herself naked on his laptop. So, the trial commenced, but no verdict has been made.

Image credit: Youtube

Accused of Murdering her stepfather

A Californian woman, Jade Janks, was recently accused of killing her stepfather. Thomas Merriman. As per The San Diego Union-Tribune, Thomas was a co-founder of Butterfly Farms. Which is a non-profit company dedicated to the research, education, and conservation of butterflies located in Encinitas, Calif.

Jade is 39 years old, and faces life imprisonment, although she does deny killing him. It is unclear when the murder was allegedly meant to have happened. but, Thomas’s body was found underneath a pile of trash in a driveway that coincidentally belonged to Janks in January 2021. His body was sent for phorensic investigation, and the toxicologist discovered he had a high level of Ambien in his body.

Thomas Merriman
Image credit: YouTube

What is Ambien?

According to the Ambien website, it is a prescription medicine that is meant to help sleep. The drug “AMBIEN is a prescription sleep medicine for the short-term treatment of adults who have trouble falling asleep (insomnia).” reads the website. “AMBIEN CR is a prescription medicine for the treatment of adults with trouble falling asleep and/or waking up often during the night.

Ambien is said to have some intense side effects, so it should not be taken lightly. The website also included the symptoms, emphasizing that it may affect your memory. “Sleep-walking, sleep-driving, making and eating food, talking on the phone, and having sex” are some of the symptoms one should be wary of. So, keep that in mind if you are sensitive to those symptoms.

She found nude pictures of herself

Jade has pled not guilty to the charges of murder, and when she got up onto the witness stand she made quite the hocking testament. According to what Jade said, she was in a state of disgust after finding hundreds of nude pictures of herself on his laptop.

Her stepfather was reportedly in hospital at the time she discovered them. She was at his house cleaning his room, like a dutiful stepdaughter. Reportedly, she nudged the mouse of his laptop which turned it on. there on the screen were the naked pictures. some of which she had taken of herself when she was 16 years old. “When I went to clean in his office area, I’m wiping things down, I bumped the mouse, and it shook the screen awake,” Janks said to the jury. “There’s a picture of female breasts on the screen. I have a beauty mark on my chest, those are my breasts.”

Then, she added: “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.”

The prosecution revealed her texts

The prosecution has been intensely accusing Jade of drugging her stepfather and then suffocating him with a plastic bag. In other words, the prosecutor, Jorge Del Portillo, led a strong case against Jade. He revealed some text messages she had sent to her friends after she supposedly killed Thomas. Then, Jorge said to the courtroom: “The motive is the photographs she found, the means were all the items found inside her car, the opportunity was that she was the one who picked him up… the confession is the text messages: ‘I just dosed the hell out of him.'”

In conclusion, Jade’s lawyer addressed the courtroom. He said: “Jade Janks loved her stepfather. Additionally, Tom Merriman loved Jade Janks.” Then, he added: “Unfortunately, Tom Merriman was a troubled individual, and he loved her in different ways.”


  1. Woman Convicted of Murdering Stepfather After Discovering Nude Photos of Herself on His Computer.People. Tristan Balagtus. December 22, 2022
  2. Woman accused of killing stepfather describes finding her nude photos on his computer.Unilad. Daisy Phillipson. 18 December 2022
  3. Woman, 39, ‘killed step-dad after discovering 100 of her nudes on his computer’.”