A Washington man accused of killing a Ketchikan surgeon was convicted Thursday by an Anchorage jury on murder and theft charges.
A trial began in early May for Jordan Joplin, now 38, on the charges he faced in the death of 58-year-old Dr. Eric Garcia, who was killed in his home in 2017. The two men were in a relationship and had known each other for roughly six years prior to Garcia’s death, a prosecutor said during the opening statement of the trial.
The case was moved to Anchorage because of the amount of publicity it received in Ketchikan.
Joplin visited Garcia in March 2017 before the men planned to go to Las Vegas, a prosecutor said during the trial. Joplin returned to Washington the day after he arrived in Ketchikan. Investigators later found a video on Joplin’s phone that was taken the day he left and showed Garcia gasping for air in his home. A clip was shown to jurors during the trial.
Garcia was found dead 10 days later when police entered his home. He died from a fatal dose of morphine, attorneys said during the trial.
Investigators found that nearly $40,000 had been transferred from Garcia’s checking account to Joplin in the days surrounding his death, including some transactions made after Garcia died, the prosecutor said. Joplin also sent three shipping containers of Garcia’s belongings, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, to his Washington home.
Joplin called the Ketchikan Police Department several times after he returned to Washington with concerns about Garcia. Prosecutors said the calls were one of many lies Joplin told authorities during the subsequent investigation into Garcia’s death.
Defense attorneys argued during the trial that Garcia was a generous man who was in love with Joplin. They said he consumed the morphine that caused his death, whether that was intentional or not.
Jurors found Joplin guilty Thursday on charges of first- and second-degree murder and first-degree theft.
Joplin was in custody at the Anchorage Correctional Complex on Thursday, according to an online database. He is scheduled for sentencing in October and faces between 30 to 101 years in prison.