OMAHA, Neb. — The Nebraska Supreme Court on Wednesday denied prosecutors’ request to delay the trial of a former doctor accused of killing four people with ties to an Omaha medical school.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine had asked the high court to delay the first-degree murder trial of Anthony Garcia, which is set to begin Monday. Kleine had also asked the high court to vacate District Judge Gary Randall’s Sept. 1 decision excluding from evidence advanced DNA analysis that prosecutors say connects Garcia to the crimes.
The high court said in a two-page opinion that it does not intervene in court cases to control judicial discretion.
“As presented to this Court, (the prosecutor) seeks relief from certain evidentiary rulings which are discretionary,” wrote Chief Justice Michael Heavican, a former state and federal prosecutor.
Garcia has pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder in the March 2008 slayings of Dr. William Hunter’s 11-year-old son, Thomas Hunter, and the family’s housekeeper, Shirlee Sherman, as well as the May 2013 killings of Dr. Roger Brumback and his wife, Mary.
Authorities believe Garcia was motivated by revenge. Roger Brumback and William Hunter had been instrumental in firing Garcia from a Creighton University School of Medicine pathology residency program in 2001, and both men sent letters to medical boards that prevented Garcia from becoming licensed in other states and from finishing other residency programs.
Garcia briefly held a temporary medical license in Indiana. He also had been licensed in Illinois, but he lost that license following his arrest.
Kleine had sought admittance of DNA results produced in May that he said put Garcia at the Omaha home of another Creighton doctor on the same day the Brumbacks were killed. In rejecting the request, Judge Randall cited Garcia’s right to a speedy trial and the amount of time it could take his defense team to retain experts to defend Garcia against the DNA analysis.