A San Diego resident who led a double life as the boyfriend of a wealthy Texas man and the fiance of a woman carrying his child was convicted Tuesday of murdering the 51-year-old Texan in Rosarito, Mexico.
After a week of deliberations, a federal jury found 26-year-old David Enrique Meza guilty of foreign murder of a U.S. national and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Meza faces life in prison when he is sentenced Aug. 7 by District Judge Jeffrey Miller.
Prosecutors said Meza lured Jake Clyde Merendino to the side of the road near Rosarito in the early morning hours of May 2, 2015, stabbed him two dozen times and dumped his body over a cliff.
Merendino had purchased a luxury beachfront condominium in Rosarito and wanted Meza to move in with him, but the victim didn’t know that Meza was living another life with his pregnant girlfriend, Taylor Langston, prosecutors said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Ciaffa said Meza — a bodybuilder — met Merendino in 2013. The prosecutor said Meza said in a You Tube video that he was heterosexual but had sex with men “for fun and easy money.”
Merendino bought a sports car and other gifts for Meza and named the defendant as beneficiary to inherit the $273,000 Rosarito condo, Ciaffa said. Meza “kept up the charade” until Merendino closed escrow on the property, he said.
After the murder, Meza mailed a handwritten will by Merendino, naming him as the sole beneficiary to Merendino’s estate, to a probate court in Texas that was handing the victim’s assets. Meza also drained Merendino’s bank account using a debit card the victim had given him, Ciaffa said.
Langston pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to obstruct justice in Merendino’s murder and is scheduled to be sentenced next month.