The specter of methamphetamine hung heavy in the motel room when Jason Munjak fired a bullet into Toby Marie Rock’s head in January.
And it lingered in a Johnson County courtroom Wednesday as the final chapter was told in the story of two addicts, two wasted lives and two families struggling to understand why.
“I can’t imagine a case that shows the evil of methamphetamine more than this case,” Johnson County District Judge Peter Ruddick said Wednesday before sentencing Munjak to life in prison for killing the 37-year-old mother of five inside a Merriam motel.
Munjak, 37, will have to serve 20 years before he can seek parole. He also received a consecutive sentence of 37 months in prison for distribution of the drug.
Now clear-headed, Munjak cannot explain why he thought Rock was a police informant when he killed her, said defense attorney Jason Billam.
“He can’t answer that question of why,” Billam said.
Munjak pleaded guilty in April to fatally shooting Rock at the Homestead Studio Suites in the 6400 block of E. Frontage Road.
She had gone there to buy drugs from Munjak. Witnesses said that Munjak was acting nervously and when Rock walked in the room she could sense something was wrong.
“What’s wrong Jason? You’re scaring me,” Rock reportedly said.
Munjak then pulled out a gun, shot her in the head and commented that “she shouldn’t have snitched.”
Rock was not an informant with any police department, Assistant District Attorney Sarah Hill said Wednesday.
“This truly was a senseless crime,” she said.
Ruddick said Rock had been a defendant in his courtroom on a number of occasions, but also he saw her as a victim of methamphetamine addiction
Rock’s mother, Kathy Bowman, said her daughter had long struggled with drugs as a way of self-medicating because of mental health issues.
Billam said that although Munjak could not undo what he did, he sought to spare Rock’s family the added trauma of re-living the incident by waiving his preliminary hearing and pleading guilty instead of going to trial.
“It’s the best he could do,” Billam said.
Before he was sentenced, Munjak offered an apology to Rock’s family “from the bottom of my heart,” and tried to explain how the drug had affected him.
“Methamphetamine turns love into hate,” he said.