Former TV producer accused of drugging, killing sister in fire; defense attorney calls it 'tragic accident'

Jill Blackstone allegedly drugged and killed her sister at home in March 2015.

A former TV producer appeared in court Monday, accused of drugging and killing her sister in a garage fire, but her defense attorney called it a "horrific, tragic accident."

Jill Blackstone allegedly drugged her sister, Wendy Blackstone, in March 2015, and put her in the garage of their North Hollywood home along with their three dogs, the Los Angeles Police Department said. Jill Blackstone then allegedly set the garage on fire, killing Wendy Blackstone and two of the dogs, police said.

Police claim Jill Blackstone staged the crime as an accident.

But defense attorney Daniel Davis argued to reporters Monday that it was a true accident from ingesting carbon monoxide.

"That garage... involved ingesting carbon monoxide while barbecuing food for her and her sister," Davis said.

It's a "horrific, tragic accident that is not that uncommon," he said.

"The garage never burned down. There was never any fire involved," he said. "It is fake evidence."

Jill Blackstone appeared in court Monday but her arraignment was postponed to Thursday. She will enter a plea on Thursday, Davis said.

Police said, "detectives believe the motive was Jill’s frustration of being forced to provide Wendy long-term care, as well as the associated financial hardship." Wendy Blackstone was disabled, according to ABC-owned station KABC-TV.

Jill Blackstone took care of her sister for years, despite being ill herself with lupus, Davis said.

"They were very close," Davis said.

Shortly after Wendy Blackstone's death, Jill Blackstone was arrested on suspicion of murder because of evidence at the scene, KABC-TV reported. But prosecutors didn't file charges and she was released two days later.

Last month, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office filed murder and animal cruelty charges and issued a warrant for Jill Blackstone, who is now 55 years old. She was taken into custody in Baltimore this month and extradited to California.

Jill Blackstone was an executive producer for over 100 episodes of "Family Court with Judge Penny" from 2008 to 2009, according to her IMDB page. She also produced an episode of "The Jerry Springer Show" in 1993.