A registered nurse is charged with murder for allegedly injecting her friend with drugs after he asked her to help him die.
Kristie Jane Koepplin, of Peoria, Arizona, was arrested Oct. 15 in Maricopa County on a felony murder charge in connection with the death of Matthew Peter Sokalski. She has pleaded not guilty.
Staff working at a hotel in Mission Viejo, California, found Sokalski dead in a room in April 2018, according to a press release by the Orange County district attorney and the sheriff's department.
Sokalski asked Koepplin to help him die after the two broke up, according to authorities.
“California’s right to die law strictly governs the conditions under which terminally ill adult patients with the capacity to make medical decisions can be prescribed an aid-in-dying medication,” District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement.
“That was not the case here. It is beyond disturbing that someone who is trained as a nurse to aid the sick and the dying would twist their duty to willingly end the life of another human being.”
Koepplin, 58, posted $1 million bail and was released from custody in Arizona on Monday. She faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life if convicted, the district attorney's office said. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 7.
Michael Guisti, Koepplin's attorney, said he plans to fight the charge "vigorously" because his client is innocent.
"Their case rests ultimately on inferences made by what they found in the room," he said. "They have no substantial evidence linking my client to the victim's death."