FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The preliminary hearing began Tuesday for a first of its kind murder case in Fresno County.
Cassidy Gonzalez is accused of selling fentanyl pills that led to an overdose death.
Sage Dreith, the sister of the victim, Jade Dreith, was the first witness called to testify.
"We were very close most of our whole lives. We talked to each other every day," Sage said.
Sage Dreith says the last time she saw her sister was when she stopped into her sister's work for lunch on Saturday, January 15, 2022.
When Jade didn't show up for a planned dinner Saturday night and didn't answer her calls on Sunday, Sage started to worry.
"It wasn't normal for her to not call me back or text me back. We had plans to see our nieces who we're very close with," Sage said.
Monday morning, Sage and her fiancé went to Jade's apartment to look for her.
A note was on the door frame saying, "Jade $28. I need my money. You are making this way harder than it has to. You bought the drugs and did them, now follow through on your word."
Police were called and Jade was found dead inside a short time later.
The defendant, Cassidy Gonzalez, wiped her face as Sage detailed finding out her sister died.
In the days after Jade's death, Sage said she received a message on Instagram from someone named Cassidy.
Cassidy apologized to Sage and wrote "she got the pills from me the night she died, but she said that they were for her back and she would get them a lot."
Forensic Pathologist Dr. Angellee Chen did the autopsy on Jade.
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She testified 13.3 nanograms per milliliter of fentanyl was found in Jade's blood.
"This is a lethal dose," Dr. Chen said.
The defense brought up Jade's previous drug use.
Sage admitted she told police her sister had previously abused prescription pills, until about the summer of 2021.
She said Jade had also admitted to using heroin in the past.
"Were you concerned when she didn't answer the phone that she might have accidentally overdosed on narcotics?" Defense attorney Greg Gross asked.
Sage responded, "I was concerned, yes."
Gross also brought up Sage's relationship with District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp.
Sage previously worked at the DA's office under Smittcamp.
"If you needed something from her, you felt like you could approach her and ask her for it?" Gross asked.
"Yes," Sage responded.
"And she would respond and do what she could to help you out?"
"Yes," Sage said.
Tuesday afternoon the officers who responded to Jade's apartment testified about what they found.
On Wednesday, the toxicologist is expected to testify about the victim's toxicology report.
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