Further details were released Thursday evening about the 2017 killing of Eric Garcia, a prominent Ketchikan surgeon. The surgeon’s romantic partner was convicted of murder on Thursday in Anchorage. The new information pieces together a timeline of what happened.
Eric Garcia, 58, had been in a romantic relationship with his convicted killer, Jordan Joplin, now 38, for six years. That’s according to Assistant Attorney General Erin McCarthy, who says that was confirmed during the trial last month.
On March 15 2017, Joplin came to Ketchikan from his Washington home for what he called a visit. But new information from the state’s Department of Law states he also made arrangements for three large shipping containers to be sent to Garcia’s address. He scheduled the containers to arrive two days after he got there on March 17.
And then, when they were delivered, he loaded the containers with more than 4,000 pounds of Garcia’s expensive personal collections. Garcia was known to have a large array of coins, watches, jewelry and pricey liquor, worth thousands of dollars. Ketchikan police say that much of it was missing from Garcia’s house in the days after his death. Garcia’s collections included around $50,000 worth of jewelry, coins and watches, and around $320,000 worth of liquor. The statement noted Joplin had sent the items to his own address back in Washington. Police would also find Garcia’s phone and wallet in Joplin’s home.
Police also tracked electronic bank transfers from the surgeon’s accounts to Joplin– starting the day before Joplin is said to have loaded up those shipping containers – totaling more than $30,000. The transfers started on March 16 and ended around March 30, 2017.
“He killed Dr. Eric Garcia, a man who loved and trusted him, and he did it for money,” Assistant Attorney General Erin McCarthy is quoted in a statement from the Department of Law.
New details also emerged about the day that Joplin called Ketchikan police, asking for a welfare check on Garcia. That was March 27, 2017 – 10 days after Joplin had left town. He told officers that Garcia was due to visit him in Washington but he hadn’t heard from him. Joplin traveled back to Ketchikan, where he drove Garcia’s own truck to the surgeon’s house to let police in with keys he had. Garcia had not been due back at his work, PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center, for 10 days. He was thought to be traveling to a conference.
Joplin also used Garcia’s truck to drive to the airport to go back to Washington the evening of March 17. The home’s alarm system was found to be off. While searching Joplin’s cell phone, police found a video of Garcia unconscious, in the same position and clothes that he was in when he was found dead. A toxicology screening confirmed Garcia died of a morphine overdose. He also had lorazepam, diazepam and methadone in his system.
The trial took most of May. It had been postponed several times, and moved from Ketchikan to Juneau and finally to Anchorage, due to the amount of publicity it received in Ketchikan.
Joplin was convicted of first- and second-degree murder, and first-degree theft. According to the Department of Law, Joplin is facing a sentence between 30 and 101 years. He’s scheduled to be sentenced by Anchorage judge Michael Wolverton on Oct. 5, 2023.
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.