A young man accused with a cohort of supplying a lethal dose of fentanyl to a 16-year-old French Valley girl made his initial court appearance Tuesday.
Raymond Gene Tyrrell, 18, of French Valley was arrested Thursday following a Riverside County sheriff’s investigation into the death of the teenager, whose identity has not been released.
Tyrrell, who is charged with second-degree murder, appeared before Superior Court Judge Judith Clark, and she appointed him a public defender, scheduling his arraignment for Wednesday at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.
The defendant is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Byrd Detention Center.
His associate, 18-year-old Jeremiah David Carlton of Canyon Lake, was arrested on suspicion of murder Saturday and is being held without bail at the Murrieta jail. Felony charges are expected to be filed against him Wednesday.
According to Sgt. Rick Espinoza of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Tyrrell and Carlton provided the drugs that led to the death of the girl, who died Wednesday night after collapsing unconscious at a residence in the 35000 block of Sugar Maple Street, near Leon Road.
Espinoza said deputies were called to the location to investigate two possible fentanyl overdoses and discovered the girl and a man, also not identified, comatose. Both were taken to an Inland Empire trauma center, where the man was revived, but the girl succumbed to the toxic ingestion.
“Detectives conducted an investigation and developed information that this was possibly a homicide,” the sergeant said.
He declined to elaborate on the circumstances.
Tyrrell was summoned to the sheriff’s Southwest station in Murrieta on Thursday and interviewed by detectives, after which he was taken into custody. Carlton was taken into custody at his residence.
Tyrrell has no documented prior felony convictions. No information was available on Carlton.
Last week, Sheriff Chad Bianco and District Attorney Mike Hestrin held a news briefing to announce the first murder charge filed in the county for a fentanyl-related fatality.
In that case, Joseph Michael Costanza of Eastvale was charged with second-degree murder for the 2020 death of an 18-year-old man, whom the defendant allegedly supplied with fentanyl.
“All deaths from fentanyl toxicity are treated as possible homicides,” Bianco said.
According to Hestrin, although overdose murder cases can be difficult to prosecute under current state law, the District Attorney’s Office intends to take an aggressive stand going forward and will file charges whenever the evidence of culpability is clear.
Bianco cited statistics indicating fentanyl-induced fatalities shot up 300% countywide between 2018 and 2020.
Even teaspoon-size doses of the synthetic opioid are known to be 80 to 100 times more potent than heroin and similar narcotics.