OMAHA, Neb. – A former Indiana doctor accused of stabbing four people to death, including a young boy, was found guilty Wednesday.
Jurors convicted Anthony Joseph Garcia of first-degree murder in the deaths of four people: Thomas Hunter, 11, and Shirlee Sherman, 57, in 2008; and Roger Brumback and his wife, Mary, both 65 years old, in 2013.
Hunter and Sherman were killed in 2008, but the case remained unsolved for several years. Investigators noted similarities between their deaths and those of the Brumbacks five years later. The stab wounds on the victims in both cases were remarkably similar, investigators said.
As for the motive, prosecutors believe Garcia was angry after being fired from the Creighton University School of Medicine’s residency program in 2001. Thomas Hunter was the son of one of the doctors in charge of the program, William Hunter; Roger Brumback was the other doctor involved.
Prosecutors said Garcia’s anger at his dismissal grew over the years and drove him to get revenge on the people who he felt had wronged him. They argued that Garcia blamed them for telling other medical schools about his firing, making it difficult for him to get accepted at other schools and get approved for medical licenses.
Records showed Garcia made credit card purchases in the Omaha area on the day the Brumbacks were killed. He also searched the couple’s home address on his smartphone.
Police arrested Garcia in Illinois two months after the killings.
In the 2008 case, neighbors said they’d seen an “olive-skinned” man at the home of William Hunter that day and also spotted a silver Honda CR-V with out-of-state license plates. Garcia had a similar vehicle in 2008 registered in Louisiana where he lived at the time.
An exotic dancer also testified that Garcia told her he’d “killed a young boy and old woman.”
Defense attorneys questioned the credibility of the witness and accused investigators of carelessly handling evidence. However, the jury deliberated for six hours before finding Garcia guilty.
Jurors will reconvene Friday to determine if the case merits the death penalty. If the jury recommends the death penalty, a three-judge panel would make the final decision at a later hearing.