NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, December 24, 2015, 3:09 PM
David Meza, 25, and Taylor Langston, 20, where charged in connection with the murder of Jake Clyde Merendino.
A California couple pleaded not guilty in court today to charges that they lured a wealthy Texas retiree into a gay relationship — then killed the millionaire after he made his boy toy his sole heir.
David Enrique Meza, 25, and Taylor Marie Langston, 20, were indicted in the May murder of Jake Clyde Merendino, 52.
According to a federal grand jury indictment, Meza and Merendino connected online in 2013 and became involved in a romantic relationship. At the same time, Meza and Langston were involved in a long-term relationship of their own — and Langston was pregnant with the couple’s child.
Merendino was murdered after he closed escrow on a luxury oceanfront condo in Baja California, Mexico.
Meza and Merendino rented a car on April 29 and drove to Mexico to close the condo deal, according to the search warrant affidavit. They returned to Baja two days later — this time with Merendino driving a Range Rover and Meza following in a motorcycle, authorities say.
The pair checked into Bobby’s by the Sea, a nearby hotel.
Merendino was seen alive at about 1 a.m. on May 2 — he told hotel security that he was leaving to help a friend stranded on the road.
Authorities found Merendino and his blood-soaked Range Rover in a ravine near a highway at 3:33 a.m. He was stabbed dozens of times in the chest and stomach.
Meza and Langston crossed back into the United States within an hour of Merendino’s body being discovered, authorities say. The couple later returned to the hotel to pick up personal items from the room.
Following the slaying, Meza claimed that Merendino wrote a new will on hotel letterhead naming him the sole beneficiary of the millionaire’s estate.
Langston told investigators that she went to Mexico the weekend of Merendino’s death to meet with a friend. But when agents contacted the friend, he stated he hadn’t seen the couple in more than a year — and the couple had instructed the friend to lie if contacted by police, authorities allege.
Meza is charged with interstate or foreign domestic violence resulting in murder, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and making false statements to federal officers.
Langston is charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and making false statements.
If convicted, Meza could spend the rest of his life behind bars, while Langston could face decades in custody.
Meza was denied bond in court, while Langston will be allowed to leave jail after posting $ 50,000 bond — reportedly granted in part because she is nursing her newborn baby.