Attorneys: Close Dundee Murder Hearing

By: WOWT-TV Email
By: WOWT-TV Email

Attorneys representing suspected serial killer, Dr. Anthony Garcia, have asked a judge to close a court hearing scheduled in Omaha Wednesday morning.

In their motion to close the preliminary hearing to the public and the media, the attorneys argue that release of information from the court hearing will impact Garcia's right to a fair trial.

They also argue that there is really no other remedy available other than closing the hearing.

"That's not something that we do. We don't have private or closed hearings," says Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine, who will argue to keep the preliminary hearing open.

Judge Darryl Lowe will preside over the motion and the preliminary hearing.

Unlike Illinois in July where a camera was locked down in the corner of the courtroom for Garcia's appearance, Wednesday's preliminary hearing will be very different on the fifth floor of the Douglas County courthouse. No cameras are allowed inside the courtroom.

It's possible the state will reveal new evidence gathered from the searches of Garcia's Indiana home and his family's place in California.

The public won't be able to see Dr. Garcia unless they get inside the courtroom. Douglas County deputies will bring him into court through a back entrance.

"With this case, we consider it a high profile, high risk," said Captain Wayne Hudson with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, who is in charge of the extra security in place that's similar to past high-profile cases.

They'll be checking ID's -- running warrants -- and making everyone go through a second set of metal detectors before entering the courtroom. And that's just what we see.

"There are other things that we keep close to the vest," said Hudson. "We have those behind the scenes so we'll be able to respond to any emergency that comes up."

Garcia is accused in two, double homicides. The first took place in 2008 when he is accused of killing Thomas Hunter, the son of a Creighton University pathologist. He is also accused of killing Shirlee Sherman, the Hunter family's housekeeper.

The second double homicide took place on Mother's Day of this year. Dr. Roger Brumback and his wife Mary were killed in their West Omaha home.

Prosecutors allege that Garcia committed all the killings because of a grudge. He had been fired as a pathology resident in 2001 and suffered a series of professional setbacks in the years that followed.

Dr. Roger Brumback was chairman of the department at the time Garcia was fired. Dr. William Hunter, Thomas Hunter's father, was and remains a member of the Pathology Department. He and Brumback made the call to fire Garcia.

A hearing on the motion to close the proceedings will be held at 8:30 Wednesday morning. Garcia's preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Kleine says it should last for much of the morning.

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