A fentanyl-related homicide trial is now underway in Riverside County. This is the first case of its kind to go to trial here where the defendant has been charged with murder in a fentanyl poisoning death.
We have provided extensive coverage on the fentanyl crisis here at home -- and around the state
In this case, Vicente Romero, 34, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Kelsey King back in June 2020.
Opening statements began in a Murrieta courtroom. In an unusual move, the judge granted access to their office's camera as the pool camera for all local news media for the opening statements in this case.
This case is one that District Attorneys across the state will be keeping an eye on. It could set a legal precedent -- that will help them with cases in their own counties.
In July, News Channel 3 told you about a similar case out of Placer County, near Sacramento. A 21-year-old was convicted of second-degree murder in the fentanyl death of a 15-year-old girl.
The defendant plead guilty in this case so it did not go to a jury trial.
The Placer County case and the Riverside County case are similar. Both prosecutors claim that the defendants knew their products were deadly and the victims were unsuspecting.
As of August, Riverside County has 30 cases of fentanyl-involved homicide. The DA says that 23 of those cases are active right now.
We will be tracking this story closely so stay with News Channel 3 on air and always online for any new developments.