Washington man convicted of killing Ketchikan surgeon in 2017

Jordan Joplin
Jordan Joplin leaves a Ketchikan courtroom Wednesday following a hearing. (Leila Kheiry/KRBD)

An Anchorage jury has found a Washington man guilty in the 2017 killing of his friend and romantic partner, a prominent Ketchikan surgeon. 

Thirty-eight-year-old Jordan Joplin was found guilty of first- and second-degree murder, and first-degree theft. 

Patty Sullivan, a spokesperson for the state’s Department of Law, confirmed the verdict to KRBD on Thursday. Joplin’s sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 5, according to Sullivan.

“He may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of no less than 30 years and no more than 101 years,” Sullivan wrote to KRBD.

Ketchikan police found Dr. Eric Garcia, 58, dead at his home in March of 2017, after Joplin called asking for a welfare check. Joplin let police into Garcia’s residence. 

An autopsy was conducted, and didn’t show any clear signs of how Garcia died. A toxicology screening was ordered.

A statement from the Department of Law, issued during the trial’s opening arguments, said that Garcia died from a fatal dose of morphine. Other drugs, including methadone, diazepam and lorazepam, were also found in his system. 

That statement also said Joplin had a video showing Garcia, unconscious, in the same clothes and position as when he was found dead —and that Joplin tried to ship about 4,000 pounds of Garcia’s belongings to Washington. 

Erin McCarthy, an assistant attorney general for the department, told KRBD that Joplin had been in a romantic relationship with Garcia for six years before the surgeon died.

Raegan Miller is a Report for America corps member for KRBD. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution at KRBD.org/donate.

Previous articleState roughly halves the number of Alaskans waiting on food aid, but more than 8,000 remain
Next articleFamily’s Alaska fishing trip becomes nightmare with 3 dead and search over for 2 more