Ketchikan’s district courthouse stands at 415 Main Street on Dec. 8, 2020. (Eric Stone/KRBD)

A Metlakatla man in his 60s allegedly died at the hands of his neighbor over the weekend. A 36-year-old man was jailed on Saturday, and prosecutors say he’s admitted the grisly crime.


William Taylor faces criminal charges including first-degree murder after allegedly knifing his neighbor, Edward “Buddy” Starrish. Metlakatla is Alaska’s only Indigeneous Reserve. And with a population of around 1,500 people, it’s very tight-knit, says mayor Reginald Atkinson.

“First of all, our hearts go out to both sides of the family there. It has really hit Metlakatla hard. We’re still feeling the impact and the aftermath,” Atkinson told KRBD Tuesday.

According to court filings, Metlakatla police got an emergency call shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday. They arrived at Starrish’s home to find him “gravely injured,” with knife wounds and lying on the ground outside of his home.

He was rushed by ambulance to Metlakatla’s clinic. A Coast Guard helicopter flew him to Ketchikan’s hospital.

Authorities say that’s where he died later that day.

Officers say they found Taylor at his parents’ home. He’d reportedly confessed to his father who told police of his son’s admission. Another witness told officers they’d seen Taylor running from Starrish’s home shortly before police arrived.

Prosecutor Timothy McGillicuddy didn’t mince words during a Monday court hearing.

“This was a chilling and brutal, premeditated first-degree homicide,” McGillicuddy said.

He told District Court Judge Kevin Miller that after Taylor was brought to Ketchikan, he was briefly hospitalized for an unrelated medical condition. McGillicuddy says he began to confess to state troopers on his own accord while being treated.

“He wasn’t questioned about what he had done. But he made a number of statements indicating that he had planned to commit this murder, that he intended to commit this murder, the brutal way in which he committed the murder, and his motives for doing so,” he said.

McGillicuddy didn’t say what those alleged motives were. Metlakatla’s police said Tuesday they don’t know why he allegedly killed his neighbor.

Taylor’s attorney, a public defender in Ketchikan, declined to comment on Tuesday.

“We have tragedies here but nowhere near this level or magnitude,” said Atkinson, the mayor of Metlakatla. He lives just down the street from Starrish.

He says the community is still processing what happened last weekend

“I can’t imagine what they were going through. We’re still recovering from a state of shock,” he said. “Most of the community is still in the kind of so-called numb phase right now.”

Taylor was jailed Tuesday at Ketchikan Correctional Center. Bail is set at $500,000. He’s due back in court next month.