Death penalty hearing for convicted killer delayed until 2018

OMAHA, Neb.  — The death penalty hearing for convicted serial killer Anthony Garcia has been delayed until early 2018. Garcia was convicted in the 2008 deaths of Thomas Hunter, the 11-year-old son of Creighton University Medical Center pathologist Dr. William Hunter and the family’s housekeeper, Shirlee Sherman, as well as the 2013 deaths of Creighton pathologist Dr. Roger Brumback and his wife Mary.

Garcia was set to face a three judge panel at the end of this month, but that hearing will be delayed until March of 2018. Garcia’s new attorneys asked for more time to prepare their issues for the three judge panel.

Garcia is now being represented by a kind of statewide public defender’s office from the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy after his Chicago lawyers wiped their hands of the case.

“We’ve come in late and we’re trying to catch up with all the mitigation stuff that needs to be done,” said Garcia’s attorney Todd Lancaster.

Garcia’s new attorneys filed six motions. They include motions to declare sections of Nebraska’s death penalty unconstitutional. The state objected to many of the exhibits coming from the defense.

“I didn’t think they were relevant. They were secondary nature some were newspaper articles some were dealing the politics of what they claim is the politics of the death penalty,” said Chief Deputy Douglas County Attorney Brenda Beadle. “We didn’t feel it appropriate.”

The judge decided to delay the hearing until next year and that didn’t sit well with family members of one of Garcia’s victims, Shirlee Sherman.

“This is ridiculous. It took 1,200 days from the time they arrested him to convict him and over a year trying to sentence him,” said Brad Waite, Shirlee’s brother. “It’s on and on and there again they want to delay again. It disrupts our lives – everybody in the whole family – because we don’t know what the next step is.”

The next step will be more hearings as the trial of Anthony Garcia continues. The judge set aside two days to hear Garcia’s attorneys for March 12th and 13th of next year.

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