County DA Don Kleine
County prosecutor Don Kleine told the court during the trial that on March 13, 2008,Thomas Hunter, a sixth-grader had just got off the school bus and descended to the basement to drink a Dr Pepper and play Xbox when Garcia caught up with him. The Hunter’s housekeeper Shirlee Sherman, a grandmother with six grandkids, was almost done cleaning the home, ready to pick up 6-year-old Madison from kindergarten when the killer caught her near the back stairs. Garcia stabbed Sherman 17 times before finally plunging the knife into her neck.
In strikingly similar fashion the prosecution said, Garcia went to the home of Creighton pathologist Roger Brumback,in 2013. The home owner and his wife Mary, both were stabbed to death at their Omaha home.
An investigative task force having linked the two crimes, identified Garcia as the murder suspect in both incidents, based on forensic evidence and eye witness accounts. According to the prosecution , Garcia a former resident in the Creighton Medical School’s pathology program became disgruntled after losing his job at in 2001. He sought revenge on those he blamed for derailing his dreams of becoming a pathologist, especially William Hunter, the man he blamed for his firing from a residency program.
Prosecutors Don Kleine and Brenda Beadle said ‘he did all of it for a twisted reason: He couldn’t land a job, or a lasting medical license, because of his firing from Creighton University Medical Center by Dr. William Hunter and Dr. Brumback.’
Garcia rage victims: Anthony Garcia could face the death penalty after he was convicted of killing 4 people (pictured), playing the ‘blame game’
The jury in six hours of delibrations found Anthony Garcia of Terre Haute, Ind., guilty on all four counts of first-degree murder, including the pre-teen boy. He faces life in prison or execution if Nebraska votes in favor of keeping the death penalty in the state on Nov. 8.
Prosecutors said Garcia blamed Hunter and Brumback for telling other medical schools around the country that he had been fired, preventing him from landing another job and getting a medical license in other states.
Members of the Hunter family clutched each other and cried as the the jury read the verdict, concluding the case into murders that shook Omaha.
Outside, the victims’ families having just found closure, released years of angst and anguish.
Thomas Hunter’s mother, Dr Claire Hunter in her first public comments about the crimes, told The World-Herald that the case is as staggering today as it was in March 2008 — “when you get a call from a friend and you’re told two people are dead and you don’t even know which two people they are.”
Garcia “was a guy who my husband didn’t hire, didn’t say a word when they fired him, and he comes back seven years later and kills our son?” Claire Hunter said. “That’s not a normal response, not even to anger. That’s not revenge — stabbing somebody 18 times in the neck.
“What he did to those four people is animal.”
As the verdict was handed down, Claire and sons Rob and Jeff smiled with relief. Her husband, Dr. William Hunter, though he testified at trial to his firing of Garcia and to finding Thomas and Sherman at home, didn’t attend either the closing arguments or Wednesday’s verdict proceedings.
Fernando Garcia and his parents, Estelle and Frederick Garcia leave the Douglas County Court in Omaha Wednesday, after Anthony Garcia was found guilty on 4 counts of first degree murder
For Mike Sherman, Shirlee’s ex-husband and the father of their children, it was long awaited justice: “Our justice system worked today,” he said as he walked out of the courtroom following the verdict.
A key prosecution witness was an exotic dancer who testified during the trial that Garcia told her that he had “killed a young boy and old woman.”
Taking the opening, the Garcia defense team attempted unsuccessfully to poke holes in the prosecution’s case and tried to cast doubt on the credibility of the exotic dancer’s testimony.
In the Hunter household murders, neighborhood witnesses testified they had seen an olive-skinned man turn up at Hunter’s home in a silver Honda CRV with out-of-state plates, similar to the car Garcia was driving at the time.
Delibrating over the course of two days, the jury of six men and six women, confered for 7½ hours before returning a guilty verdict on all four counts of first-degree murder.
The jury will reconvene Friday to determine whether prosecutors have proven aggravating factors that could send Garcia to death row. A three-judge panel will convene later.
After the guilty verdict was read, the Garcia defense team led by attorney Robert Motta, Jr. said: “With what they had, the jury made their decision,”.The defense team said that they intend to appeal the verdict. “It was a tough case.”
Garcia faces life in prison or the death penalty, depending on which way Nebraska votes on capital punishment in the state, come November 8.