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A longtime transient who was killed in a fight at an encampment in unincorporated Concord Wednesday night was strangled to death, a sheriff’s spokesman said this afternoon. Emergency responders arrived at the encampment near the Concord Avenue on-ramp to northbound Interstate Highway 680 Wednesday night and were attempting to revive 47-year-old Jerald Nagle when deputies arrived, sheriff’s spokesman Jimmy Lee said.
Nagle was pronounced dead at the scene. Lee said another homeless man, 38-year-old James Riley, had gotten into a fight with Nagle prior to his death. Riley was arrested on suspicion of murder and booked into the county jail in Martinez, where he is being held on $1 million bail. An autopsy performed today found that Nagle’s official cause of death was asphyxia due to strangulation, Lee said.
The investigation into the murder is ongoing. Doug Stewart of Central County Homeless Outreach said that Nagle grew up in Pacheco and had lived in camps in the area on and off for nearly a decade. “He’s your typical homeless person — in and out of jail, he had some drug and alcohol issues,” Stewart said. Nagle, known as Jed, lived with his girlfriend Bambi, who is also homeless.
The pair pitched a tent near the freeway off-ramp just a few days ago. Stewart, who tracks the central county’s homeless population and works to connect them with housing and health services, said Nagle was one of a “core group” of about 15 transients living in the area near the freeway. “I hope the transients in the area look at this and try to get of the streets — this is how it ends,” he said.
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