SAN DIEGO (CN) - A San Diego couple has been charged in the fatal stabbing of a Texas man unwittingly caught in the middle of a deadly love triangle.
David Enrique Meza, 25, and his girlfriend Taylor Marie Langston, 20, were indicted in the murder of Meza's wealthy boyfriend Jake Clyde Merendino, 52. Meza faces life in prison if convicted of Merendino's murder, while Langston faces lesser charges including conspiracy to obstruct justice and making a false statement to a federal officer.
According to a search warrant, Merendino was stabbed to death on May 2. His body was found about 40 miles south of San Diego in Mexico, in a ravine next to the highway between Rosarito and Ensenada known as Los Arenales.
Meza and Merendino met online in 2013 and were in a romantic relationship. At the same time Meza was also involved in a long-term relationship with Langston, who was pregnant with his child at the time of the murder, according to U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy.
Merendino was killed the day after he closed escrow on a luxury oceanfront condo in Baja California, which he had gone to check on with Meza the day before his murder.
On April 29, Meza and Merendino crossed the border to close the deal on the $300,000 condo at the upscale Palacio del Mar development. Later that afternoon, they drove back to the United States and checked into the Hercor Hotel in Chula Vista.
On May 1, Merendino and Meza drove again to Mexico, with Merendino driving his Range Rover and Meza following on his motorcycle. Merendino's newly purchased condo wasn't ready to move into, so the couple checked in at the Bobby's By the Sea hotel, prosecutors say.
Early that evening, Merendino went to the lobby to open a bottle of wine. At around 10:30 p.m., a motorcycle was heard leaving the hotel and Meza was taped on a border camera entering the United States at 11 p.m.
Merendino was last seen alive at 1 a.m. on May 2, when he told hotel staff he was leaving to help a friend who was stranded on the road. His body was found a couple hours later, at 3:33 a.m., Duffy said.
Shortly before 4 a.m., Meza was seen again crossing into the United States, followed by Langston - driving a black SUV with no license plates - 25 minutes later.
At 7 p.m. that night, Langston and Meza returned to the hotel to collect Meza's belongings. They were seen driving the black SUV, Duffy said.
After the slaying, Merendino's longtime friend who had drawn up his 1998 will filed probate paperwork in Galveston, Texas. Weeks later on May 17, Meza contested the 1998 will, producing a handwritten will through his lawyers - written on stationary from the Hercor Hotel he and Merendino had stayed at on April 29.
Meza claimed the will was executed by Merendino on Dec. 21, 2014.
A hearing has been set for Jan. 22, 2016.