JONESBORO – A physician suspected in four slayings in Nebraska and arrested in Illinois is waiving extradition and will return to Omaha to face murder charges.
Unshaven and wearing grey striped scrubs and orange slippers, Anthony Garcia offered only short responses during Wednesday’s brief court appearance in southern Illinois’ Union County.
“Absolutely, yes,” he said when asked by Circuit Judge Mark Boie if he was returning to Nebraska voluntarily and understood a one-page extradition waiver.
A lawyer for the 40-year-old Garcia, who lives in Terre Haute, Ind., denied the allegations.
“My client steadfastly professes his innocence,” said Bob Motta, who along with his wife Alison, is representing Garcia in the extradition case and his prosecution in Nebraska. “The game is afoot. The state [Nebraska] has a heavy burden and we’re going to put it to the test.”
Motta declined to go into details of the Nebraska case after Wednesday’s 15-minute hearing. But he bristled at suggestions by Nebraska authorities that Garcia showed traits of a serial killer, calling that “patently absurd.”
Garcia was arrested in Illinois on Monday after a traffic stop on Interstate 57 and was being held without bond.
Douglas County, Neb., prosecutor Don Kleine said Wednesday that Nebraska law enforcement officials will pick up Garcia in Illinois and bring him back to Nebraska by the end of the week.
“I expect him to be arraigned on the charges by Monday or Tuesday,” Kleine said.
Garcia has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and four counts of use of a deadly weapon.
Douglas County judges sealed arrest affidavits and other documents that would detail some evidence against Garcia at the request of Omaha police, Kleine said. Kleine said he expects those documents to be unsealed soon now that Garcia has been arrested and made an initial court appearance.
Garcia is accused of killing four people with ties to a Nebraska medical school that fired him more than a decade ago. The slayings took place in two separate attacks five years apart.
His arrest came two months after Creighton professor Roger Brumback was fatally shot and his wife stabbed to death in their Omaha home. Back in 2008, the son of another pathology professor, William Hunter, and his housekeeper were stabbed to death in an affluent Omaha neighborhood near the home of billionaire Warren Buffett.
Brumback and Hunter fired Garcia, who’s been denied a medical license in at least two states.
Neither police nor Creighton officials have detailed the behavior that led to the dismissal. They also haven’t disclosed a motive in the slayings, except to note the firing. But documents show the dismissal for erratic behavior in 2001 had long-lasting effects on Garcia’s career.
Associated Press writer Margery A. Beck, in Omaha, Neb., contributed to this report.