SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — A registered nurse pleaded not guilty Monday to murdering a friend by injecting him with drugs after he asked her to help him die following a break-up, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Kristie Jane Koepplin, 58, of Peoria, Arizona, was arrested in Maricopa County, Arizona on October 15. She has been charged with one felony count of murder.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department launched an investigation into the death of Matthew Peter Sokalski after his body was found inside a Mission Viejo hotel room by hotel staff on April 6, 2018.
“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,” said O.C. D.A. Todd Spitzer. “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 faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life if convicted. She posted $1 million bail Monday and was released from custody.
Koepplin is scheduled to return to court for a pre-trial hearing on January 7.