Former doctor accused of killing 4 in Omaha seeks separate trials for 2008, 2013 attacks

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OMAHA, Nebraska — A former doctor charged with killing four people with ties to an Omaha medical school in separate attacks in 2008 and 2013 is seeking separate trials for the killings.

Attorneys for Anthony Garcia will ask a Douglas County District judge on Monday to order separate trials in the March 2008 slayings of Dr. William Hunter's 11-year-old son and the family's housekeeper and the May 2013 killings of Dr. Roger Brumback and his wife, Mary, The Omaha World-Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1GP2g1Q ).

Defense attorneys Bob and Alison Motta of Chicago say that trying the cases together could unfairly sway jurors. They plan to argue that the five years between the slayings is too great a span to try the crimes together.

But a major piece of prosecutors' case is Garcia's and the victims' links to the Creighton pathology department. Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said the cases are inextricably intertwined.

Prosecutors believe Garcia was motivated by revenge in both attacks because he had been fired from the pathology department in 2001. Roger Brumback and William Hunter had been instrumental in firing Garcia, and both men later wrote letters to medical boards that prevented Garcia from becoming licensed in several states.

Physical evidence gathered from both crime scenes also show similarities, authorities have said. In both attacks, knives from inside the homes were used to cut the victims' necks, and investigators say the slash patterns on all victims are similar.

Kleine said he could not recall a similar case where prosecutors sought one trial for slayings believed to have been committed by one person so many years apart. But prosecutors have pointed to other cases, such as when a serial rapist strikes over the course of several years, in which separate crimes were tried together.


Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com

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