Anthony Garcia, the Nebraska man found guilty of murdering Dr. Roger Brumback, his wife Mary, 11-year old Thomas Hunter and the Hunters’ housekeeper Shirlee Sherman, has been sentenced to death.
You can watch the hearing, live, here.
Garcia, wearing a bright yellow uniform and sporting a long gray beard, sat motionless and perhaps unconscious through the hearing with his head slumped to one side. It was not clear whether he understood what was happening around him.
The judge in the case paused while he was reading out the background in the case. He had started to stumble over his words; then he said, “I’m sorry. No, I’m not nervous. I’m in pain.” He stepped out of the chamber, and the hearing was suspended.
Reports on social media said the judge was experiencing severe back pain and had to be leave to get medical care. The hearing was suspended for about 30 minutes after Judge Randall left the court room but then resumed. The sentencing is being presided over by a panel of three judges and the sentencing order has already been signed by all three judges, including presiding judge, Judge Randall.
The sentencing was resumed in spite of the objections of the defense, which called it “highly unusual” for sentencing to take place without the physical presence of the presiding judge.
Garcia Was Convicted of Murdering Four People In the Space of Five Years
Anthony Garcia, originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, was convicted of fatally stabbing an 11-year-old named Thomas Hunter, whose father, William Hunter, served as a faculty member at Creighton University School of Medicine. Garcia was also convicted of fatally stabbing the Hunter family’shousekeeper, Shirlee Sherman. Both of those deaths occured in 2008.
Five years later, on Mother’s Day in 2013, Garcia murdered Roger Brumback, and his wife, Mary, in their Omaha home. Brumback was also a professor at Creighton University School of Medicine.
Prosecutors Say Garcia Was Seeking Revenge for Being Fired
In 2001, Garcia was fired from his position at Creighton’s pathology residency program. Prosecutors say Garcia blamed Hunter and Brumback for his firing — they say Garcia never got over being fired and eventually murdered the two men, and their family members, out of a desire for revenge.
Garcia’s Defense Team Has Said He Is Either Insane or Else a Very Good Actor
In 2017, Garcia’s defense lawyer, Jeremy Jorgenson, told a court that he had serious questions about his client’s mental state. He said that Garcia had not communicated with anyone in months– although he had sent “nonsensical” letters to his lawyers and his family.
“Either he’s incredibly talented at sounding insane — or he is insane,” Jorgenson said. “I don’t know the answer.”
But Judge Randall said that this fit Garcia’s known pattern of “defiant behavior” and that it was up to his lawyers to get him to talk. At this point Garcia had already been convicted of the four murders and was preparing for a series of sentencing hearings. The result of those hearings — Garcia’s sentence — is supposed to be announced today.