A 25-year-old Sacramento County man on Wednesday was convicted of second-degree murder for selling the synthetic opioid fentanyl to an Auburn woman who died last year in an overdose, Placer County prosecutors said.
Aaron Kurtis Dare II, of Fair Oaks, was convicted in the death of the 25-year-old woman who was found dead in her room at her Auburn home on Aug. 31, 2022, the Placer County District Attorney’s Office announced in a news release.
Dare has been in custody at the Placer County Jail since his Sept. 6, 2022, arrest. Local, state and federal investigators that day served a search warrant at a hotel room where they found Dare with $1,200 worth of fentanyl, a loaded revolver and evidence of drug sales, according to the California Department of Justice.
District Attorney Morgan Gire has said Dare and the woman knew each other before he sold her fentanyl that killed her. Prosecutors have not released the name of the woman who died.
Dare’s preliminary hearing ended on Oct. 13 with the judge determining there was enough evidence for him to stand trial, Placer Superior Court records show. He was initially scheduled to return to court Wednesday for an arraignment hearing but instead pleaded to the second-degree murder charge. He is scheduled to return to court Feb. 29 for his sentencing hearing at the Historic Courthouse in Auburn.
Dare is the second defendant in Placer County to be convicted of a murder charge in a fentanyl death.
Nathaniel Evan Cabacungan, 22, was the first person in the county and in California to be convicted of murder in a fentanyl case. He pleaded guilty in July to second-degree murder for the death of 15-year-old Jewels Marie Wolf. She was a Roseville teen who died in June 2022 after ingesting a fake Percocet pill containing a lethal dose of fentanyl. Cabacungan is serving his sentence at North Kern State Prison in Delano.
Gire and other prosecutors in California are taking a new approach to fentanyl deaths, filing murder charges against people who sell or provide fentanyl to someone who later dies from ingesting the drugs. Gire has told The Sacramento Bee that his office uses this approach “sparingly — as it should be used — and in the most egregious of circumstances.”
Fentanyl is a powerful and potentially addictive synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin. The state Department of Justice said two milligrams of fentanyl can result in overdose and potentially death.
Placer County prosecutors have filed murder charges in three cases, which also includes 22-year-old Carson David Schewe, who is accused of selling fentanyl in December 2021 to a victim who later died in an overdose in Roseville. Schewe, who was first in the county to be charged with murder, remains in custody at the county jail and is scheduled to return to court Dec. 14 for a motion hearing in his case.