RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. - A man was found guilty in California's first fentanyl-related homicide case. On Friday, the jury found Vicente David Romero guilty of second-degree murder in the fentanyl poisoning death of Kelsey King back in June 2020.
Following the guilty verdict, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin declared victory in the fentanyl-related homicide case.
"Today, our office has successfully provided justice to a victim’s family by securing the first-ever guilty verdict by a jury in a fentanyl-related homicide trial in the state of California," Hestrin said in a statement. "DDA Jerry Pfohl not only demonstrated that the law can be upheld in a fentanyl-related murder case but also established a precedent for future cases. This verdict is a testament to our unwavering commitment to protecting our communities, providing justice for victims, and holding those accountable who engage in the distribution of illicit fentanyl resulting in death. "
During the trial, the jury was shown body-camera videos where Romero told authorities at the time of the investigations that he gave and split a pill known as M30 with King. Romero also admitted during the investigation that he knew the pill had contained fentanyl, Hestrin explained in Friday's press release.
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Fentanyl is known to be about 50 times stronger than heroin. The synthetic drug is also believed to be 100 times stronger than morphine.
Now that he is convicted, Romero potentially faces 15 years to life behind bars. It is unknown when the sentencing will begin for Romero.