TV producer arrested in death of deaf sister in California

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A television producer arrested Thursday on suspicion of killing her deaf and partially blind sister three years ago drugged the woman, placed her in a garage and set the building on fire to make the death look accidental, Los Angeles police said.

Jill Blackstone was taken into custody in Baltimore and will be extradited to face a murder charge in California, authorities said. It wasn’t immediately clear if she has an attorney.

Her sister, Wendy Blackstone, died in 2015 along with two of her pet dogs.

Investigators believe Jill Blackstone was motivated by frustration at the emotional and financial hardship of taking care of her sister.

Jill Blackstone worked as a TV producer for programs including “The Jerry Springer Show,” ’'The Tony Danza Show,” ’'Divorce Court” and “Family Court with Judge Penny.”

Wendy Blackstone died from smoke inhalation and an overdose of alprazolam, a sedative, according to an autopsy. A coroner’s report obtained by the Los Angeles Times said a suicide note was found in Wendy Blackstone’s hand, but investigators believed it was actually written by Jill Blackstone.

Jill Blackstone was arrested on suspicion of murder two days after her sister’s body was found, but she was released when prosecutors declined to file charges, asking police to conduct further investigation.

She was charged on Monday with murder and animal cruelty.