OMAHA, Nebraska — A judge has ruled that a former doctor accused of killing four people with ties to an Omaha medical school is competent to stand trial.
Douglas County District Judge Duane Dougherty issued an order Thursday saying Anthony Garcia is mentally fit for trial. The ruling came a week after three experts — included one for the defense — testified that Garcia is competent.
Garcia's trial is tentatively scheduled to begin April 4.
Garcia, 42, was ordered last year to undergo a mental health evaluation after he repeatedly alleged he had been sexually abused by jail guards. Officials say evidence, including jail surveillance video, disproves those allegations.
Garcia has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder in the March 2008 slayings of Dr. William Hunter's 11-year-old son, Thomas Hunter, and the family's housekeeper, Shirlee Sherman, as well as the May 2013 killings of Dr. Roger Brumback and his wife, Mary.
Authorities believe Garcia was motivated by revenge. Roger Brumback and William Hunter had been instrumental in firing Garcia from Creighton University's pathology department in 2001, and both men sent letters to medical boards that prevented Garcia from becoming licensed in other states and from finishing residency programs.
Garcia briefly held a temporary medical license in Indiana. He also was licensed in Illinois, where he was arrested in 2013, but he lost that license following his arrest.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine has said he will seek the death penalty if Garcia is convicted.
Kleine was out of the office Friday to attend a professional conference and could not be reached for comment.
Garcia's attorney, Robert Motta of Chicago, said Friday that he and his client are ready for trial.
"We were ready in February," he said, referring to an earlier date that had set the trial for February of last year.