Ex-doctor competent for trial in Omaha killings

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A former doctor accused of killing four people with ties to an Omaha medical school was found competent to stand trial Friday.

The competency hearing for Anthony Garcia, of Terre Haute, Indiana, was held in Douglas County District Court after he spent three months undergoing psychological evaluation at the Lincoln Regional Center. His attorneys asked for the evaluation in February after becoming concerned about his mental state.

On Friday, both reports from a state psychiatrist and a psychiatrist hired by Garcia’s attorneys said he was competent to stand trial, even though the defense psychiatrist said he believes Garcia has an underlying mental illness. Garcia’s attorneys did not elaborate on what type of mental illness they believe Garcia has and asked Judge Duane Dougherty to seal the reports regarding Garcia’s mental health.

The judge took the request under advisement.

Garcia is charged with 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 2013 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 in 2001. Both men subsequently sent letters to medical boards that prevented Garcia from becoming licensed in several states and from finishing other residency programs.

Garcia has pleaded not guilty to the charges. On Friday, he waived his right to a speedy trial to give his lawyers more time to prepare a d efense.

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