Former Sean Cody gay-for-pay model David Meza, a.k.a Mario Romo, has been formally charged with multiple counts, including murder, and conspiracy to obstruct justice; he could face life in prison if convicted.
Meza, 25, along with his girlfriend Taylor Marie Langston, 20, stand accused of swindling a Texas millionaire into signing a will which upon his death would bequeath his entire estate to the former adult actor.
NBC News 7 reports that 52-year-old victim was Jake Clyde Merendino, a wealthy Texas retiree who grew attached to Meza and bought him expensive gifts, including a motorcycle, only to end up stabbed 20 times in the torso and left for dead in a Mexican ravine.
FBI documents state that Meza met the wealthy Texan online in 2013 while simultaneously living with the then pregnant Langston in Chula Vista California.
Both the victim and Meza, on April 29, 2015, coordinated a visit to Mexico where Merendino was scheduled to close escrow on a $300,000 property near expensive Rosarita Beach.
The property was not yet ready once they arrived and the two men headed back into the U.S. and stayed at the Hercor Hotel in Chula Vista.
Two days later, Merendino returned to Mexico in his Black Range Rover while Meza followed behind on his motorcycle; a 2014 gift from the older victim. The two men checked in at Bobby's by the Sea hotel.
NBC 7 reports on what happened next between May 1, at 7 pm, and May 2, at 3:57 am:
“The victim came down to the lobby between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. on May 1, looking for a wine bottle opener, and at about 10:30 p.m., people at the hotel heard a motorcycle leaving the parking lot. Meza’s was the only motorcycle on the property that night, the search warrant says.
At 11 p.m., border cameras caught Meza entering the U.S. Merendino was last seen alive at about 1 a.m. on May 2, when he told a hotel security guard that he had to help a friend stranded on the road. His body was found off the highway at 3:33 a.m., five minutes away from the hotel.
While there were no cameras that showed Meza crossing back into Mexico, the search warrant states Meza was seen once again entering the U.S. at 3:57 a.m. on May 2. About 25 minutes later, Langston, driving a black SUV with no license plates, was seen at the same port of entry, also crossing into the U.S.”
Two weeks after Merendino’s body was found, Meza according to the affidavit, presented a hand written note to lawyers with the Hercor Hotel letterhead, signed by the victim, stating he leaves “everything to David E. Meza.”
Investigators interviewed Meza in June after attaining search warrants and questioned him about that night. Meza said he didn’t kill Merendino, but did plan on robbing him, however abandoned the idea after getting cold feet.
As for Langston’s venture over the border and back again that night, she says she was visiting Meza’s friend “Joe,” but got bored and returned to the U.S. without incident.
Joe was eventually identified as Jose Aguilera by the FBI. He says that he had no visitors on that night, but that Meza had contacted him a week after the killing and asked that he lie to police.
Both Meza and Langston plead not guilty to the accusations, but if convicted Meza could face a lifetime behind bars while Langston could face a 20 year sentence.
The couple have one child.
Timothy Rawles is Community Editor of SDGLN. He can be reached at email@example.com, @reporter66 on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.