You might know Jill Blackstone as a former TV producer on shows like “The Jerry Springer Show” and “The Rosie O’Donnell Show.”
Now Los Angeles police say they know Jill Blackstone as a suspect in a murder case. Blackstone drugged her deaf, partially blind sister, Wendy Blackstone, on March 14, 2015, police say, and put her in a garage along with her three dogs in North Hollywood.
Then Jill Blackstone set the garage on fire, police allege, hoping to stage the incident as a tragic accident.
The reason? “Homicide detectives believe the motive was Jill’s frustration of being forced to provide Wendy long-term care,” the Los Angeles Police Department wrote, “as well as the associated financial hardship.”
Police told TMZ that Wendy Blackstone died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning and ingesting Xanax. Two of her dogs also perished in the fire. There was also a suicide note found in the garage, police say, but investigators now suspect that Jill Blackstone wrote it as a part of her plot.
When first responders arrived, there were multiple letters found around Wendy Blackstone’s unconscious body, police say, including some that urged authorities to not try to keep the 49-year-old woman alive. They didn’t have the woman’s signature. The Los Angeles Times reports that a trash can filled with ash and a Weber charcoal grill were found near the woman’s body — as well as a near-empty bottle of vodka, although no alcohol was found in Wendy Blackstone’s body.
One dog was dead when first responders arrived, police told the Los Angeles Times, and another later died. The third survived. Jill Blackstone told officers that she needed the charcoal for cooking marshmallows and the grill to heat up the garage.
Those details are part of the reason why police viewed the death as “possibly staged” and “very suspicious,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
After a lengthy investigation, police in Los Angeles filed murder and animal cruelty charges against Jill Blackstone. The woman’s attorney said she checked herself into the John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for an unidentified medical condition, police say.
Baltimore police arrested the former TV producer on April 11, according to The Baltimore Sun. Officials plan to extradite her back to California.