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Doctor accused of Omaha revenge killings held without bond

By Katie Schubert

OMAHA, Nebraska (Reuters) - A Nebraska judge on Tuesday ordered a doctor accused of killing four people in revenge for being fired 12 years ago from a university residency program held in prison without bond.

Dr. Anthony J. Garcia, 40, dressed in a yellow jumpsuit and heavily shackled, made his first appearance in Douglas County Court in Omaha on Tuesday morning.

Garcia has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths in May of Dr. Roger Brumback and his wife, Mary, in their Omaha home, as well as the murders of 11-year-old Thomas Hunter and his family's housekeeper, Shirlee Sherman, also in Omaha in 2008.

Police say the killings were acts of revenge against Brumback and another Creighton University doctor who fired him from a pathology residency in 2001 for unprofessional conduct.

Garcia was arrested last week in southern Illinois, and extradited late on Thursday to Omaha. An affidavit unsealed last week showed receipts, eyewitness accounts, cell phone records, and evidence at the Brumbacks' home connected Garcia to Omaha at the times of the killings.

Garcia's attorneys argued before Judge Lawrence Barrett Tuesday that the evidence in the affidavit was "circumstantial and thinly veiled." Garcia will be held in the Douglas County Department of Corrections pending a preliminary hearing set for August 14.

The Brumbacks, both 65, were found dead on May 14. Each had stab wounds to the side of their necks and Dr Brumback also was shot, according to the affidavit. Police said the stab wounds were similar to ones found in the 2008 murders.

Garcia was fired in 2001 by Dr Brumback and Dr William Hunter. The murdered 11 year old was Hunter's son, but Police have said they do not believe the boy or the housekeeper were the intended targets.

According to the affidavit and records, Garcia had applied for an Indiana medical license in 2008 and in 2012. Indiana denied his requests. Records released by the Indiana medical board from those applications show he failed to complete residencies in New York, Illinois and Louisiana in addition to Nebraska.

He was suspended from a New York residency for yelling at a radiology technician, then withdrew from the program in 1999. He also withdrew from an Illinois residency, citing migraine headaches.

Garcia's application for a Louisiana medical license was rejected in February 2008, two weeks before Hunter and Sherman were killed, in part because he had not completed the other residency programs.

(Reporting by Katie Schubert, Editing by Mary Wisniewski, Greg McCune and Alden Bentley)

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