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Cathedral City man suspected in New Year’s fentanyl poisoning death re-enters not guilty plea

Riley Hagar
Riley Hagar

A Cathedral City man suspected in the fentanyl poisoning death of a 22-year-old man on New Year's Day last year re-entered a not guilty plea today to murder.

Riley Jacob Hagar, 26, initially pleaded not guilty to the charge Sept. 2, 2022 at the Larson Justice Center in Indio, according to court records. At the end of a preliminary hearing Sept. 5, a Riverside County Superior Court judge ruled that there was sufficient evidence to hold Hagar to answer on the murder count.  

He re-entered a not guilty plea to the charge Friday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.

Hagar was arrested Aug. 31, 2022, by the Riverside County Fire Department's Overdose Death Investigations and Narcotics Unit, according to Sgt. Ryan Marcuse with the sheriff's department.

Marcuse said deputies responded Jan. 1, 2022, around 12:30 p.m. to a call in Rancho Mirage about an unresponsive male in the 69000 block of Highway 111, where Travis O'Brien was found dead due to fentanyl poisoning.   

Hagar was subsequently identified as the suspect who allegedly sold the fatal dose of fentanyl that killed O'Brien, according to Marcuse.   

He was booked into the John J. Benoit Detention Center in Indio, where he remains held without bail.

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Article Topic Follows: Fentanyl Crisis

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