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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Dr. Anthony Garcia Murder Case

     In 1999, Dr. Anthony Garcia, after attending the University of California at Davis, graduated from the University of Utah Medical School. Dr. Garcia, shortly after he entered the residency program at St. Elizabeth Family Practice in Albany, New York, yelled at a radiology technician. This, along with other incidents of unprofessionalism, caused Dr. Garcia's supervisors to terminate his residency. According to doctors at St. Elizabeth, Garcia's conduct "left serious doubt as to his future ability to successfully practice medicine."

     Dr. Garcia was given a second chance in June 2000 when he began a residency in the Pathology Department at Creighton University Medical School in Omaha, Nebraska. A year later, he was fired for "unprofessional conduct toward a fellow resident and his (the resident's) wife." Two high-ranking members of the twelve member department, Doctors Roger Brumback and William Hunter, approved Garcia's discharge from the university.

     In 2003, Dr. Garcia managed to acquire a residency in Chicago at the University of Illinois. From Chicago, he bounced around the country working on the fringes of the medical profession. In 2007, he was given a medical school residency in psychiatry at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. In February 2008, the head of the LSU Psychiatric Department fired Dr. Garcia after the state rejected his request to practice medicine. Based on letters received from Doctors Roger Brumback and William Hunter, Garcia was denied a medical license for not mentioning his termination from the Pathology Department at Creighton University. LSU removed Dr. Garcia from its residency program for "falsifying his application to LSU regarding his attendance at Creighton." At this point, Dr. Garcia believed that Doctors Brumback and Hunter were killing any chance he had of pursuing a career in medicine.

     On March 13, 2008, two weeks after LSU dismissed Dr. Garcia, Dr. William Hunter returned home from his day at Creighton University to find the dead bodies of his 11-year-old son Thomas, and Shirlee Sherman, the doctor's 57-year-old housekeeper. Both victims had been stabbed in the neck near the carotid artery.

     Residents of the exclusive Omaha neighborhood reported seeing, around the time of the murders, an "olive-skinned" man in a gray or silver SUV drive slowly past the Hunter house. This man, wearing a dark suit and a white shirt, climbed out of his vehicle after parking it a block from the Hunter house. Carrying a briefcase or satchel, the man knocked on Dr. Hunter's front door and was let inside. Shortly after entering the dwelling, this man returned to his SUV and drove off.

     Homicide detectives were baffled by what appeared to be a double-murder without a motive. In the months following the killings, detectives questioned former Creighton medical students who had played video games with Dr. Hunter's son. They also questioned disgruntled former employees of the university. A FBI criminal profiler classified the slayings as a random attack by a transient serial killer. No one had reason to suspect that the boy and the housekeeper had been murdered by Dr. Anthony Garcia.

     In May 2010, Garcia resided in a middle-class community called Village Quarter on the east side of Terre Haute, Indiana. Having been granted a temporary Indiana medical permit, he worked at a high-security federal penitentiary. In the fall of 2012, the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency denied Dr. Garcia's request for a permanent license to practice medicine in the state. The denial was based upon a letter from Dr. Roger Brumback of Creighton University who informed the Indiana medical authorities that Dr. Garcia had been fired in 2001 for "unprofessional behavior."

     In his November 2012 re-application for an Indiana medical license, Dr. Garcia wrote: "I feel my actions do not rise to the level of denial of my medical licensure application. I have been aggrieved and adversely affected by not being able to work as a physician in the state of Indiana."

     A few months before Dr. Garcia's letter to the Indiana Licensing Agency, the still unsolved 2008 double-murder in Omaha was featured on the television series, "America's Most Wanted." Investigators in Omaha were desperate for a solid suspect in the case.

     On May 14, 2013, a piano mover, upon his arrival at Dr. Roger Brumback's house in Omaha, found the front door ajar. The 65-year-old physician had just retired from Creighton University. He and his wife Mary were in the process of moving to West Virginia to begin their retirement lives. The mover stepped into the house to find Dr. Brumback and his wife dead from stab wounds to their necks. The doctor had also been shot.

     Just inside the front door, a crime scene investigator discovered the clip to a 9 mm pistol. A firearms identification expert reported that the clip had been used in a Smith & Wesson model SD 9 handgun.

     Members of a task force comprised of local, state and federal investigators noticed the similarity between the Brumback murders and the stabbing deaths of Dr. Hunter's 11-year-old boy and the physician's housekeeper. Dr. Anthony Garcia, because he had a history with both physicians, emerged as a suspect in the murder cases.

     Dr. Garcia became the prime suspect when homicide investigators learned that on March 8, 2013, he had purchased a Smith & Wesson SD 9 at a Gander Mountain store in Terre Haute. Moreover, detectives were able to place Garcia in Omaha around the time of both killings.

     Police officers in Terre Haute, in the pre-dawn hours of Monday, July 15, 2013, raided Dr. Garcia's house. At the time of the raid, because Garcia had been under 24-hour surveillance, officers knew that he was not in the dwelling. Later that morning, officers with the Illinois State Police took Anthony Garcia into custody after pulling over his car in the southern part of the state. The arrest took place near the town of Jonesboro.

     On July 18, 2013, Garcia, charged with four counts of first-degree murder, was transported from the Jackson County Jail in Illinois to Omaha, Nebraska.

    Anthony Garcia, in December 2013, filed a wrongful arrest lawsuit from his cell in Douglas County, Nebraska. He asked for $20 million in damages. On February 25, 2014, U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf dismissed the federal case on procedural grounds.

     On February 27, 2014, Douglas County District Judge Duane Daugherty, based upon a request by Garcia's attorneys, ordered a psychiatric evaluation of their client. At that hearing, Garcia complained to the judge that he did not trust his lawyers.

     At another pre-trial hearing on May 9, 2014, a state psychiatrist testified that the defendant was mentally competent to stand trial.

     On February 14, 2015, Garcia's attorneys were back in court trying to have evidence against their client excluded. The defense lawyers argued that in July 2013, the police officers in Illinois did not have probable cause to arrest their client. The attorneys also asked that the jury in Garcia's upcoming murder trial be sequestered. If Judge Dougherty granted that request, the jury would be prevented from any contact with all forms of news media. According to the defense motion: "This case has been extensively covered and attended by local media outlets to an extraordinary degree. Even if an untainted jury is able to be selected from Douglas or Lincoln County, it would be highly unlikely and almost impossible that the jury selected could avoid prejudicial contact with news and media outlet coverage if not sequestered. (Garcia's lawyers had earlier filed a motion for a change of venue.)

     Judge Daugherty, in April 2015, denied the change of venue and sequester requests as well as the motion to exclude evidence acquired pursuant to Garcia's July 2013 arrest in Terre Haute, Indiana.

     At yet another Garcia case pre-trial hearing on May 7, 2015, defense attorneys put an expert witness on the stand who testified that the person who murdered Dr. William Hunter's son and housekeeper was not the perpetrator who killed Dr. Roger Brumback and his wife. Douglas County prosecutor Brenda Beadle, during her cross-examination of crime scene investigation expert Brent Turvey, showed him photographs of the knife wounds on the necks of 11-year-old Thomas Hunter and Mary Brumback. (There had been knife wounds to the neck on all four victims.) According to the witness, "a knife wound to the neck is so common it's not even funny. It's definitely not distinct or unique." The witness accused investigators of coming up with a suspect then "cherry-picking" evidence to fit the defendant in the 2008 and 2013 murders.

     At the conclusion of the hearing, prosecutor Don Kleine asked Judge Dougherty to try the 2008 and the 2013 murder cases together. The defense urged the judge to separate the cases. Judge Gary Randall denied the defense motion for separate trials.

     Since his arrest in July 2013, the quadruple murder suspect has had five trial dates. The trial was postponed in April 2016 after Judge Randall removed Garcia's lead attorney, Alison Motta, from the case. Motta had implicated another person in the 2008 Omaha, Nebraska murder case. Motta claimed that DNA evidence pointed to this suspect's guilt. This defense claim was debunked after the testimony of a DNA expert.

     On June 14, 2016, Judge Randall set the Garcia murder trial for September 26, 2016.

     In October 2016, a jury found Dr. Garcia guilty of four counts of first-degree murder. Following several delays, Dr. Garcia's death penalty hearing was rescheduled for April 2018.



  1. He was not a native of Walnut Creek (which is in San Francisco)- he was raised in Walnut (which is in Los Angeles County). A street away from Chief Beck.

  2. Here is some additional info ..........
    Garcia was working doing employee physicals at a Power Plant in Newton IL. He arrived late, then began acting inappropriately towards the employees, expressing anger, and hostility. The organizers had to stop the physicals, and called security. The security officers had to escort Garcia off the premises. When they reported to local authorities what had happened, it was discovered that FBI was after Garcia. I think this incident may have helped arresting officers find him.

  3. So - this guy releases the magazine from his weapon at the crime scene after emptying it into one of the victims? That is bizarre!

  4. He also went to U.C. Davis .

  5. FYI
    Garcia was dysfunctional at least one year before. The Creighton docs actions just caused escalation already deranged psyche

    Thanks for this article
    For those of us who had a "close encounter" with this doctor, it explains alot!

  6. Garcia lived in the apartment next to mine in Indiana. What I would like to know is how he was able to afford a Ferrari, a Lotus, AND a Mercedes SUV?

    1. yes, I would like to know that too!

  7. Garcia worked contractually at a small rural health clinic in downstate IL from October 2012 til January 2013. He was notified that his contract was not going to be renewed and was given 30 days (per his contract).

    That day on his lunch hour, he took an extended lunch of almost 3 hours. Apparently, he was sitting in a bar during this time. The following day, he arrived late. Staff reported erratic behavior and his words were slurred. Garcia was heavily intoxicated. He was asked to leave at that time and never return.

  8. as much as medical get away with he really must have been a fruitloop to get fired ..He must like gogos too....

  9. I must say that's impressive post.

  10. So, he supposedly kills two people, leaves town, gets away with it, but then comes back to the same town to kill 2 more people? He didn't choose to stay away? Does that even sound logical? No weapon, no DNA, no witness, no previous violence against previous employers. He is going to get convicted just because they think he did it.

  11. Sounds like this was written by one of his enabling family members....

  12. Sounds like this was written by a Garcia family member.

  13. Update please. Was supposed to hot to trial in April 2016. But problems with attorney delayed trial.

  14. I actually sold the gun to Garcia in Terre Haute IN while working part time at gander mountain, he bought the gun legally and for those who think its fishy that the magazine was left behind, the whole truth is that the gun is a very poorly manufactured weapon and the gun actually fell apart, not just the magazine released.

    1. Got to love the folks that will say anything to get a moment in the spotlight. I cannot swear you didn't sell the gun to Garcia but it's highly unlikely that if you actually worked the gun counter at Gander Mountain you would say the handgun purchased fell apart. The Smith & Wesson SD-9 is a moderately priced but extremely reliable handgun. Try looking up reviews on the gun. I'm not a fan of theirs but the don't make junk.

  15. Guilty on all charges.

  16. He was convicted on all counts today

  17. I'd like to hear more details of Garcia getting "set off". We all know or have known people who are easily set off but, just from the descriptions, it's hard to envision Anthony Garcia. Who gets set off because they show up to work late? I need a little more detail to really understand this person.

  18. It is my understanding that he was supposed to finally get sentenced on May 30th to June 1 2018. So what happened?

  19. Same thing going on now with a new Doctor now!

    Robert Elmore

  20. Garcia was sentenced to death by a three-judge panel in Omaha on September 14, 2018. His death sentence is on automatic appeal. Whether he'll ever be executed depends on the U.S. Supreme Court some day declaring capital punishment unconstitutional or pharmaceutical companies successfully keeping their products from being used for lethal injection.