OMAHA, Nebraska — Attorneys for a former doctor accused of killing four people with ties to an Omaha medical school are searching for diaries and journals of one of the victims they believe can help exonerate their client.
That search was revealed Thursday in a hearing that detailed a dispute between Anthony Garcia's defense attorneys and Douglas County prosecutors over the sharing of potential evidence in the case.
Garcia is charged with first-degree murder in the 2008 deaths of Thomas Hunter, the 11-year-old son of Creighton University pathologist William Hunter, and Shirlee Sherman, the family's housekeeper, as well as the May 2013 deaths of Creighton pathologist Roger Brumback and his wife, Mary.
Authorities contend that Garcia was motivated by revenge for being fired from Creighton's 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 and from finishing other residency programs.
On Thursday, defense attorneys Alison Motta and Robert Motta Sr., both of Chicago, asked a judge to order prosecutors and police to turn over any investigators' handwritten notes in the case, as well as any journal entries of the victims.
"I don't know what they what," Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said in response. "We've given them everything we have."
But Alison Motta said some evidence prosecutors say was sent is missing, and other evidence has been mislabeled, making it impossible to find in the tens of thousands of pages of documentation sent.
Specifically, the defense team said it wants to see journal entries and a file purportedly kept by Roger Brumback that detail a contentious relationship between him and William Hunter, as well as other doctors at Creighton's pathology department.
The Mottas say police investigative reports indicate the existence of those journals and the file. A police spokeswoman referred questions about the journals and file to the prosecutor, who had earlier referred questions about the items to police.
A compromise was reached Thursday when prosecutors and the Mottas agreed to set aside a day to go over all evidence police are holding in the case.
Alison Motta said the file and journals could show that someone other than Garcia had motive in the killings.
"(Garcia) did not wait years to kill someone he barely knew," she said, referring to Roger Brumback. "Why would he do that? Police simply decided it was (Garcia), and that's as far as they've gone."
Police have said the evidence — including a smartphone belonging to Garcia that showed a GPS search for the Brumbacks' home on the day the couple was believed killed — points to Garcia.
Thursday's hearing had been intended to hear attorney's arguments regarding Garcia's request to be moved out of Douglas County jail while he awaits trial. His attorneys say Garcia's solitary confinement in the Douglas County jail is endangering his mental health.
A new hearing on that matter has been set for Oct. 31.
Garcia has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His trial is set for Feb. 17.
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