More than six years after she spiked a bottle of Jägermeister with a toxic insecticide, Janjira Jeffrey Smith pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder and second-degree assault for killing her ex-boyfriend and poisoning his date.
Smith, now 58, was originally charged with first-degree murder and first-degree assault on Oct. 26, 2006, 20 days after Roger Lewis, 53, died in his friend’s Kirkland condo after drinking a shot of Jägermeister laced with the highly toxic insecticide Methomyl.
Also injured was Thanyarat “Nina” Sengpharaghanh, who had accepted the bottle of alcohol from Smith and served it to Lewis, according to King County prosecutors.
Smith was interviewed by police after Lewis’ death but fled to Taiwan before she was formally charged, according to court records. U.S. marshals had been hunting Smith when she was arrested at a London airport in 2008.
She spent about 2½ years fighting extradition to the U.S., but was brought back to Washington in June 2011. Smith has remained in the King County Jail since then in lieu of $5 million bail, jail and court records show.
Prosecutors will recommend that Smith serve a 20-year prison term when she is sentenced June 28.
Smith and Lewis lived together for about 18 months before he returned from a trip to the Philippines and told Smith he planned to marry a woman he’d met while overseas, according to charging documents.
Smith didn’t take the news well “and tried numerous times to convince Lewis to come back to her,” charging papers say. She also discovered that Sengpharaghanh had a date planned with Lewis on Oct. 6, 2006, the papers say.
Under the guise of helpfulness, Smith told the other woman that Lewis liked to have a drink before a night out and arranged to have a bottle of Jägermeister, Lewis’ favorite liqueur, delivered to Sengpharaghanh’s condo, the papers say.
It is unclear if Sengpharaghanh was the same woman Lewis had met in the Philippines.
When Lewis arrived at the Kirkland condo, Sengpharaghanh offered him a shot and poured some for herself, according to the charges. Lewis consumed his drink and Sengpharaghanh drank half of hers.
Immediately, Sengpharaghanh became ill, temporarily lost her vision and blacked out, the papers say. Lewis was dead by the time a friend of Sengpharaghanh’s discovered the couple the following day, according to the charges.
Sengpharaghanh later told police that she had been suspicious of the gift from Smith but had wanted to “make Lewis happy,” the papers say.