Doctor will be returned to Nebraska to face four murder charges - Omaha.com
Published Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 12:00 am / Updated at 6:42 am
Doctor will be returned to Nebraska to face four murder charges

JONESBORO, Ill. — A defense attorney described as “patently absurd” the notion that Dr. Anthony J. Garcia is a serial killer, as Omaha's police chief suggested.

Garcia agreed Wednesday in Union County Circuit Court to be transferred to Omaha, where he is accused of killing four people over the past five years. Omaha authorities suspect that Garcia was enraged at the Creighton University pathology department officials who fired him from a medical residency program a dozen years ago. Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said early this week that Garcia appeared to fit a serial killer's profile.

Robert Motta, an Illinois attorney who, with his wife Alison Motta, is representing Garcia, said his client was eager to take his defense to Nebraska. He is being held without bail in a jail in Murphysboro, Ill. He is expected to be transported to Omaha within two weeks.

“Essentially, the game is afoot at this point,” Robert Motta said after Wednesday's court hearing. “The state has a heavy burden.”

The Mottas said they would go to Nebraska with Garcia and implied that they would defend him.

Alison Motta said Garcia was ready to go to Omaha because “he wanted to move forward and get his chance to …”

Her husband completed the sentence: “… prove his innocence.”

Garcia, head shaven and hands cuffed in front of him, nodded vigorously when talking with the Mottas during an 11-minute hearing.

Presiding Circuit Judge Mark Boie went through protocol to make sure Garcia, 40, understood he was agreeing to transfer his case to Nebraska.

“Do you have any questions about anything today?” Boie asked.

“No, your honor,” Garcia said loudly and distinctly.

Garcia was picked up Monday in southern Illinois by law-enforcement officers on suspicion of driving under the influence and illegal use of a weapon, a .45 handgun. By that time, Omaha authorities were meticulously tracking Garcia.

Jonesboro, in a lushly wooded section of southern Illinois, is a town of 1,800 best-known for a Lincoln-Douglas debate held here in 1858. Only about 15 spectators attended the hearing, close to half of them reporters.

Robert Motta said Illinois would drop the lesser charges to pave the way for the Nebraska case.

He said after the hearing that anytime a person is charged with four counts of murder, that individual is “pretty mortified.” He declined otherwise to describe Garcia's state of mind.

“His family obviously is in a state of shock at this point,” Robert Motta said.

A man dressed in a charcoal suit attended the hearing. He was described by the Mottas as a family member of Garcia. The man declined to comment.

Boie wanted to make sure that it was, indeed, Garcia's signature on a document provided during the hearing.

“Yes, your honor,” Garcia said.

When asked by the judge if he was coerced to sign them, Garcia shook his head.

Robert Motta said his client steadfastly denies having killed anyone.

Video from Anthony J. Garcia's court appearance


Contact the writer: Rick Ruggles

rick.ruggles@owh.com    |   402-444-1123    |  

Rick covers health and medicine. He also occasionally covers cops, breaking news and events around town.

8% of alcohol sellers checked in Omaha area last week sold booze to minors
OPS bus, SUV collide; no students onboard at the time
Waitress who served alcohol to teen before fatal crash gets jail time, probation
Lori Jenkins, charged as accessory in 4 murders, waives speedy trial
Iowa State servers hacked, nearly 30,000 SSNs at risk
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
2nd District House race: After 8 terms, Lee Terry knows how D.C. works — and doesn't
Bellevue man is killed at Minnesota dance hall after South Sudanese basketball tourney
Spring corn planting still sputters in Nebraska, Iowa, other key states
Nebraska banking and finance director to retire
19-year-old killed in one-vehicle crash at 72nd & Shirley
Gov. Heineman vetoes bill to ease restrictions on nurse practitioners
U.S. Senate race: State Auditor Mike Foley defends Shane Osborn against ad campaign
Public defender to represent Nikko Jenkins in sentencing
Mid-America Center on track for lower operating loss
Bluffs City Council approves dozens of new numbered street lights
National Law Enforcement Memorial Week set for May
Ted Cruz backs Pete Ricketts' campaign for governor
Omahan charged with 5th-offense DUI after street race causes rollover
2 blocks of Grover Street closed
Safety board report blames pilot error in 2013 crash that killed UNO student, passenger
Omaha man accused in shooting ordered held on $75,000 bail
2 men charged with conspiracy to distribute meth held on $1 million bail each
La Vista plans meeting on sales tax proposal, 84th Street redevelopment
6-mile stretch of Highway 75 is the road not taken
< >
COLUMNISTS »
Breaking Brad: Into the claw machine! Florida kid follows Lincoln kid's lead
In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., a child climbed inside a claw machine. Hey, Florida kid: Nobody likes a copycat.
Breaking Brad: Even Chuck Hassebrook's throwing mud!
The Nebraska campaigns have turned so ugly, Democrat Chuck Hassebrook lobbed unfounded accusations at an imaginary opponent.
Breaking Brad: Kraft wiener recall is business opportunity for TD Ameritrade Park
Instead of returning the wieners, TD Ameritrade Park is calling them "cheese dogs" and charging double.
Breaking Brad: Photos with the Easter Bunny are so 2010
In a sign of the times, most kids ran out of patience waiting for a photo with the Easter Bunny at the mall, just snapped a selfie and went home.
Kelly: 70 years after a deadly D-Day rehearsal, Omahan, WWII vet will return to Europe
A World War II veteran from Omaha will return this week to Europe to commemorate a tragedy in the run-up to D-Day.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Steam-A-Way Carpet Cleaning
$50 for 3 rooms and a Hallway up to 600 square feet
Buy Now
PHOTO GALLERIES »
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
WORLD-HERALD ALERTS »
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »