DNA testing helped prosecutors finally get an arrest in the murder of Joy Blanchard murder, but Anthony Garcia's defense says that DNA testing could also exonerate their client.
Prosecutors say on November 2, 2007, Charles Simmer stabbed Blanchard to death in her south Omaha home and beat her with a banister spindle. Police found Blanchard with two knives sticking out of the back of her neck.
DNA testing done in 2007 and within the last year concludes Simmer's DNA or a male in his bloodline was found on one knife and the spindle, plus a mix of Blanchard’s and Simmer’s DNA was identified on the inside doorknob according to prosecutors. Simmer, 33, is Blanchard's nephew and lived with her for some time.
After Roger and Mary Brumback were murdered in 2013, the Omaha Police Department asked the FBI for help to identify a serial killer involved in the 2007 Blanchard killing, 2013 Brumback murders, and 2008 Shirlee Sherman and Thomas Hunter murders.
Monday afternoon, Anthony Garcia's attorneys say they've turned over information to Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine they say connects simmer to both scenes. Garcia's accused in the Creighton killings.
An expert DNA analyst for the defense analyzed the DNA reports prepared by the state. They conclude Simmer's DNA is found at the Blanchard and Hunter/Sherman crime scenes as well as a person initially identified as a suspect.
“This evidence conclusively exonerates Anthony Garcia and shows that it cannot be a coincidence the two manners of killing being signature like and the crossover between the two scenes of the same two suspects,” Garcia’s attorney, Alison Motta explained.
Before the analysis was turned over to the Douglas County Attorneys Office, CA Don Kleine said he would not drop charges against Anthony Garcia and there was no connection between the Blanchard murder and the Sherman/Hunter killings.
Kline said Motta's DNA information is not correct.
"That’s an inaccurate statement, I mean it’s really a wreck less disregard for the truth if you understand forensic evidence and DNA so that’s not accurate," said Kline.
Kline said the timing of the new evidence seems off-putting.
"When we are talking about 5 business days before trial so I think it’s unfortunate, theres a line that you preparing for trial when you have prospective jurors out there and make statements like this, that there’s certain DNA evidence out there that’s found at a scene-it’s not an accurate statement, that’s a problem," said Kline.
Simmer’s bond was set at 10% of $10 million in jail court on Monday.
Garcia’s quadruple murder trial is scheduled to start on April 4.