Thursday, November 3, 2016

Medical mayhem 3

Jurors have found Anthony Garcia guilty on all four counts of 1st degree murder.

Prosecutors charged Garcia with the 2008 murders of 11-year-old Thomas Hunter and the family's housekeeper Shirlee Sherman, and the 2013 murders of Dr. Roger Brumback and his wife Mary. They were revenge killings, prosecutors claimed, after Dr. William Hunter -- Thomas' father -- and Brumback fired Garcia from the Creighton pathology department in 2001.

The jury began deliberations Tuesday after closing arguments from the state -- led by Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine and his chief deputy Brenda Beadle -- and the Mottas, a pair of criminal defense attorneys from Chicago. Omaha attorney Jeremy Jorgenson partnered with them on the case.

The judge polled the jury about the verdict and they said yes across the board…

"I was confident all along the citizens would sift through the evidence and the theatrics," said Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer…

"It’s a great feeling. We waited so long, there were a lot of road blocks,” Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said.

Kleine was visibly emotional, though, and spoke of the families of the victims.

“It’s extremely emotional. Thomas’s brothers are thinking of their little brother. 

They saw horrific photographs," Kleine said.

A sentencing date has not yet been set.

Garcia is eligible for the death penalty. If voters decide to bring the death penalty back in Nebraska, a panel of three judges will decide whether to sentence him.

Late Monday afternoon, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert offered her reaction to the verdict.

"The Hunter, Sherman and Brumback families have waited years for this guilty verdict. I hope the end of the trial provides solace for these families. The verdict represents the thorough investigation by the Omaha Police Department task force created by Chief Todd Schmaderer, the strong case presented by Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine and his staff, and the thoughtful work of the jury."


  1. “If you shall wrong us, shall we not revenge?”

    That’s a quote from Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice,” one police officer found among Anthony Garcia’s Internet searches. The quote proved chillingly fitting for the 42-year-old Terre Haute, Ind., man. Feeling himself wronged, he did indeed take revenge.

    On Wednesday, the former doctor was convicted of murdering four people as retribution for something that happened 15 years earlier.

    It began in 2001, when Garcia was fired from Creighton University’s medical residency program in Omaha.

    It wasn’t the first residency program he failed to complete — as Reuters noted, he had withdrawn from a New York residency program after being suspended for screaming at a radiology technician — but the Creighton program was the first to outright dismiss him.

    At the time, Roger Brumback and William Hunter cited “unprofessional behavior” to justify the dismissal, NBC reported. Records obtained by the Chicago Tribune showed Garcia had “willfully” phoned a fellow resident while the resident was taking a particularly high-stakes exam, presumably in an effort to affect the resident’s score.

    Following that dismissal, he applied to a residency program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In his application, he wrote, “Since my childhood, I have pursued a life ambition to scientifically study the human body. I am glad I can fulfill my interest and help others, at the same time.”

    Three years later, as the Tribune noted, he was dismissed from yet another residency program when the UIC ended his contract in 2004 for “substandard” behavior.

    After this, he was denied a medical license in Indiana and Louisiana, but he maintained a medical license in the state of Illinois.

    Given his checkered professional past and the fact that he was still able to practice medicine in Illinois (and reportedly sometimes did in Chicago), it might seem surprising that Garcia held Brumback and Hunter accountable for his lackluster career.

    But he did.

    And rather than write an angrily worded letter, he, as police said, took revenge.

    Two weeks after being denied a medical license in Louisiana in 2008, he stabbed to death Hunter’s son Thomas and his housekeeper Shirlee Sherman...

    At the time, police didn’t have much to go on: Witnesses told police an olive-skinned man had visited Hunter’s home and that they’d seen a Honda CRV in the area with out-of-state plates, the Associated Press reported. But no arrests were made.

    Garcia didn’t emerge as a suspect, the World-Herald reported...

    That’s[May 2013] when Garcia was denied an Indiana medical license for the second time, after Brumback informed the state of Garcia’s tattered professional record.

    Just after this, Garcia attempted to break into the house of yet another Creighton medical school faculty member. When the alarm went off, he fled.

    But he wasn’t done.

    Immediately he used his phone to search for the Brumbacks’ address.

    Later that same day, he shot Brumback and stabbed his wife, Mary, killing them both.

    Police immediately considered the potential that these killings were linked to those of Sherman and young Thomas. After combing through documents from Creighton University Medical Center’s pathology department personnel records, police finally considered Garcia a suspect.

  2. The former Creighton doctor who killed a young boy and three older Omahans as revenge for his firing from Creighton will find out his fate Sept. 14.

    That Friday, a three-judge panel will announce whether Anthony Garcia gets a life sentence or the death penalty in the March 2008 slayings of Thomas Hunter, 11, and Shirlee Sherman, 57; and the May 2013 slayings of Dr. Roger Brumback and his wife Mary, both 65.

    Judges Gary Randall, Russell Bowie and Rick Schreiner deliberated Garcia’s fate after a hearing last month. They must decide whether any alleged mitigating factors — such as the defense contentions that Garcia suffered from mental illness — outweigh the 10 aggravating factors that a jury found should merit the death penalty.

    The pronouncement will come almost two years after Garcia went on trial for the grisly slayings of the four Omahans. Garcia killed the four as revenge for his 2001 termination by Hunter’s father, Dr. William Hunter, and Dr. Brumback.

    Garcia held a grudge that festered as he was continually denied jobs and medical licenses across the country. For example, Louisiana State University officials fired him after finding out from William Hunter that Garcia had been terminated from Creighton — something Garcia had failed to disclose on his application to LSU.

    Seventeen days later, he killed Thomas and Sherman inside Hunter’s home. His life further circled the drain, culminating in him killing the Brumbacks on Mother’s Day 2013.

    Garcia’s sentencing has been continually delayed by questions of his competence and changes in his defense team.