By Katie Knapp Schubert
OMAHA, Nebraska (Reuters) - A former Indiana doctor accused of killing four people as revenge for his dismissal from a medical school program in Nebraska is competent to stand trial, a judge ruled on Friday.
Anthony Garcia, 40, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder for two separate double-murders, one in 2008 and the second in May of last year, stemming from his firing from a pathology program at Creighton University in Omaha.
Douglas County District Court Judge Duane Dougherty ruled Garcia fit for trial on Friday after receiving evaluations from a state psychiatrist and from a psychiatrist for the defense. The defense psychiatrist found that while Garcia has an underlying mental illness, he is competent to stand trial.
Garcia is charged with killing Creighton University Dr. Roger Brumback and his wife, Mary Brumback, both 65, at their home in May 2013 as well as the 2008 killings of Thomas Hunter, the 11-year-old son of Dr. William Hunter, another Creighton doctor, and the Hunters' housekeeper, Shirlee Sherman.
But police said they do not believe that Thomas Hunter or Sherman were the intended targets in the 2008 attack. Roger Brumback and Dr. William Hunter had dismissed Garcia from the program in 2001 for unprofessional conduct.
A task force of local, state, and federal law enforcement officials was set up this month to investigate the cases and determine if they were connected and police believed early on after the May 2013 killings that there was a connection.
(Editing by Brendan O'Brien and G Crosse)