Courts

Dealer hit with max in Zach Didier’s fentanyl death

ROSEVILLE, Calif. — Phony pill dealer Virgil Bordner was sentenced Thursday to 17 years in prison for supplying the pills that killed Zach Didier.

Bordner was given 141 days of time served, and the 17-year sentence serves as the maximum term he was eligible to receive.

The 22-year-old Norteno gang affiliate previously pled no contest to two counts of selling drugs to a minor and one count of negligent homicide in Didier’s death.

Placer County investigators found Bordner sold fake pills to Didier on two separate days in December of 2020, later calling his parents from jail and instructing them to delete evidence from his phone and social media accounts. He was tracked down through an undercover investigation using Didier’s Snapchat and an aerial surveillance campaign that led cops to a home in Lincoln, where he was apprehended pulling out of the driveway.

Bordner was suspected of selling a Glock 23, Xanax, and pressed oxycodone.  The pills and the gun were never found, and Bordner’s girlfriend told police he was leaving the home to pick up more drugs.

Before Judge Jeffrey Penney handed down the sentence, Bordner apologized and said he felt “disgraceful,” both to Didier’s family and his own.

“I understand that this is something I have to live with for the rest of my life,” Bordner said, speaking quietly into a microphone. “If I could take it back in a heartbeat and exchange my life for Zach’s, I would.”

Bordner’s attorney, Jennifer Mouzis, submitted a statement in mitigation last week that included letters from Bordner’s family, friends, and a high school teacher, as well as certificates of completion for several courses he underwent while in Placer County custody.

After Bordner was sentenced and shuffled out of the room, his stepfather stood with his back to the judge, shaking his head several times. He would later decline to speak to the media and shared a hug with a member of Didier’s family.

The second-floor courtroom was packed with family and friends of Didier who read victim impact statements to the judge.

“Zach, he was impossible not to love,” his mother, Laura, told the court. “He was joyful from the moment he was born … Zach worked so hard to set himself up for an amazing future he never got to see.”

Judge Jeffrey Penney revealed at the hearing that Bordner wrote to him on August 23rd, asking to withdraw his guilty plea, citing ineffective assistance of counsel. By the time sentencing came around, however, he seemingly changed his mind and confirmed to the judge he wanted to proceed with sentencing.

Court will resume on October 24th for a restitution conference, where Bordner will not be present. He has been remanded into CDCR custody at the Placer County Jail.

Following the sentencing, District Attorney Morgan Gire, Didier’s parents, and Placer County Sheriff Wayne Woo spoke at a press conference outside of the courthouse. Gire remarked that, while Bordner’s sentencing marks the end of the criminal case, it is only the beginning of Placer County’s work to combat fentanyl deaths.

“To everyone who will listen, we will shout the message loudly about the dangers of fentanyl and the effect it is having on our community,” Gire said.

Ethan Biando
Ethan Biando is a freelance journalist from Sacramento. His writing focuses on crime, courts, and policing. Find him on Twitter @ethanb822

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