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December 6, 2013

Hearing postponed for ex-doctor in Omaha killings

OMAHA, Neb. — A preliminary hearing on an attempted burglary charge has been pushed back for a former doctor accused of killing four people with ties to an Omaha medical school that fired him in 2001.

Anthony Garcia, 40, of Terre Haute, Ind., appeared Thursday in Douglas County District Court, sporting a heavy beard and looking noticeably thinner than when he was arrested this summer in southern Illinois. Judge Duane Dougherty said he would likely set the preliminary hearing for some time in January.

The judge also addressed concerns by Garcia's attorneys that they have not received all of the evidence collected by police and prosecutors, including DNA reports and squad car camera recordings of Garcia's arrest.

Chief Deputy Douglas County Attorney Brenda Beadle said all of the evidence prosecutors currently have will be shared with Garcia's attorneys by the end of January.

"I'd say we have 80 percent handed over now," she said.

Garcia already faces trial on four counts of first-degree murder and various weapons counts. He is accused of fatally stabbing Thomas Hunter, the 11-year-old son of Creighton University pathologist William Hunter, and the family's housekeeper, Shirlee Sherman, in 2008.

Garcia also is charged in the May deaths of Creighton pathologist Roger Brumback and his wife, Mary.

Authorities say Garcia was motivated by revenge. Roger Brumback and William Hunter had been instrumental in firing Garcia from Creighton's pathology program. Both men subsequently sent letters to medical boards that prevented Garcia from becoming licensed in several states and from finishing other residency programs.

The attempted burglary charge stems from what appeared to be a would-be break-in at the home of another Creighton pathology doctor, Chhanda Bewtra, on the same day the Brumbacks were killed. Bewtra, who had supervised Garcia during his time as a resident in the Creighton pathology program, and her husband weren't home when someone tried to kick in their back door, she has said.

During an August hearing for Garcia on the murder charges, a detective testified that a computer tablet belonging to Garcia showed a search for Bewtra's home address.

 

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