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Defense: Family pressure, expectations drove Nebraska man to murder


KETV Omaha

A new set of lawyers tried to make the case Wednesday to spare convicted killer Anthony Garcia from Nebraska's death row for the revenge murders of four people in 2008, and 2013.

A three-judge panel began weighing the mitigating factors that would mean life in prison instead for the 45-year-old Garcia, who sat through Wednesday's hearing silent, slumped over, and often appeared barely conscious.

Testimony may last all week, and the panel will take a month to make its' decision.

Defense attorney Jeff Pickens said extreme pressure drove Garcia to violence. His parents wanted him to become a doctor at all costs, even though his grades were below average, and his interests were elsewhere.

"He is severely mentally ill, an alcoholic, " said Pickens in his opening statement. "There is overwhelming evidence he never should have gone to medical school."

As Garcia failed, and moved from one school to another, Pickens said he became burdened by profound failure and fixated on Creighton University Pathology Doctors Roger Brumback and William Hunter.

Garcia killed Hunter's son Thomas, and the family housekeeper Shirlee Sherman in 2008, then returned to Omaha and killed Brumback and his wife Mary in their home in 2013.

Pickens said Garcia had good character traits, including his strong relationship with his parents, and siblings. But Garcia was driven to negative, and even homicidal thoughts as the pressure from his parents to be a doctor weighed upon him.

He was hospitalized for more than a week in 2003, admitting to suicidal and vague homicidal thoughts. Garcia self-prescribed medication to combat his alcoholism, and underwent gastric bypass surgery which led to a weight loss of 100 pounds.

Pickens also argued Garcia was "unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct... as a result of mental illness, mental defect, or intoxication."

In his opening statement, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine rejected arguments that Garcia is mentally ill.

"Garcia has been evaluated several time by experts, who all found him to be competent," said Kleine. "The fact that he chooses not to communicate with counsel-- that's his choice."


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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: Defense: Family pressure, expectations drove Nebraska man to murder
Defense: Family pressure, expectations drove Nebraska man to murder
U.S. - U.S. Daily News
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