Dr. Bewtra, Hunter recall problems with Garcia

Posted at 5:33 PM, Oct 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-11 18:33:57-04

A former Creighton professor for Anthony Garcia testifies that he was the worst resident she’d ever taught in Douglas County District Court on Tuesday.

Garcia is charged with killing Dr. Roger and Mary Brumback in 2013, and murdering Thomas Hunter and Shirlee Sherman in 2008 because he was mad about being fired from the Creighton Pathology Department.

Dr. Chhanda Bewtra, a now retired professor of the Creighton Pathology Department, testified Tuesday afternoon that she had problems with Garcia right at the start of his residency in 2000.  She described an arrogant student who was always defiant and wouldn’t answer questions.  Prosecutors say Garcia tried to break into the Bewtra home just hours before Dr. Roger and Mary Brumback were brutally murdered.

”He was the worst resident in my 40 years of teaching,” Dr. Bewtra explained.  “Not good.  Right from the beginning he was adversarial, he did not like me.  He was rude in the class, and he was quite disruptive in my class.”

She had written evaluations and formal complaints against Garcia to Dr. William Hunter in 2001.  She said it was the first time she had recommended a pathology resident be suspended.

The defense questioned how threatened Dr. Bewtra really was by Garcia.  She said he never threatened to kill her but did threaten to sue.  He never carried out a lawsuit.  Defense Attorney Bob Motta Jr. argued that a total of five pathology residents were terminated during the same time period.

Dr. William Hunter came back to Judge Gary Randall’s court Tuesday afternoon to testify again, this time about his interactions with Garcia in 2000-01.  He documented multiple incidents where Garcia acted unprofessional and disrespectful to professors.  Dr. Hunter oversaw the pathology residency program.

One incident Dr. Hunter documented in a memo to himself about a time when Garcia was doing an autopsy while Hunter and another Creighton doctor were present in February 2001.  The doctors thought Garcia made a mistake in the way he examined the patient.

“I was kind of shocked at the defensive comments Dr. Garcia made.  He was very sharp and didn’t take the criticism.”

Tuesday morning, prosecutors connect the dots on the 150 different pieces of evidence tested for DNA over an 8 year period.  UNMC Forensic Analyst Mellissa Helligso testified that Anthony Garcia was not excluded from DNA found on the Bewtra doorknob and can't exclude 1 in 12 American Hispanics.

They also detailed what DNA was found on the Dundee murder weapons .which didn't include Anthony Garcia.  DNA tests of Shirlee Sherman's hand had results of 5 people in the hunter family, and the boyfriend of Sherman's daughter.

The defense questioned the sample from the Bewtra doorknob where Helligso said she did not know that one swab was used to test both knobs.  The defense wanted to know if that could dilute the sample or mix multiple people together and it happened to match Garcia's DNA numbers.  Helligso stated the knob's sample was low quantity, but not low quality.

In prosecution reexamination, Helligso pointed out that taking a swab of two places wouldn’t change any of the DNA that was picked up, and that the 2nd test on the Bewtra door showed only one set of male DNA was present.

Wednesday’s testimony will continue with Dr. William Hunter.