California Sees Its First Jury Verdict for Fentanyl-Related Homicide

A jury in Riverside County has delivered the state’s second murder conviction for a fentanyl-related homicide. On Thursday, 34-year-old Vicente David Romero was convicted of second-degree murder for knowingly selling fentanyl to a 26-year-old woman who died of an overdose.

The state’s first fentanyl-related murder conviction was secured in July after a 21-year-old Placer County man pleaded guilty to supplying a 15-year-old girl with fentanyl. She died after overdosing on the drug. Thursday’s verdict, however, represents the first fentanyl murder conviction handed down by a jury

There are 23 active homicide cases related to fentanyl overdoses pending trial in Riverside County. There have been three fentanyl-related murder charges filed in Placer.

Efforts to increase punitive measures at the state level have failed to garner the level of necessary support. A number of county district attorneys have taken matters into their own hands, vowing to pursue the most stringent penalties possible for dealers whose products kill.

The attorney for David Romero maintains that the Riverside County jury’s ruling was “contrary to existing law.” He said his client plans to appeal.