Lawyers for Dr. Anthony Garcia, charged with four counts of murder, say their client's placement in solitary confinement has affected his mental health.
They made that assertion Friday as they sought to have Garcia evaluated to determine his competency to stand trial.
Douglas County District Judge Duane Dougherty ordered the evaluation at the Lincoln Regional Center.
Later, Garcia interrupted the hearing, blurting out: “Your honor, can I say something?”
Dougherty responded: “I don't think that would be a good idea.”
One of Garcia's attorneys, Robert Motta Sr., leaned over to Garcia to ask him what he wanted to say.
“I don't trust you guys,” Garcia said. “I don't trust anybody. I don't think it's in my best interest.”
Alison Motta, another of Garcia's lawyers, said Garcia's distrust is rooted in his continual solitary confinement.
She said Garcia has suffered from being confined in a cell 23 hours a day, with one hour out to shower or have recreational time.
“The stress of the entire experience is taking its toll,” she said. “It's risen to the level of who does he trust, who doesn't he trust.”
Garcia is accused of four killings, committed five years apart, over what authorities say was a lingering grudge against the Creighton University doctors who had fired him.
Garcia was unable to hold down a job — or obtain medical licenses — in part because of questions about his termination from Creighton.
At Creighton, Garcia was accused of causing a number of problems, including several attempts to distract a fellow medical resident during an important exam.
In March 2008, prosecutors allege, Garcia killed 11-year-old Thomas Hunter and house cleaner Shirlee Sherman after breaking into the Dundee home of his former boss at Creighton, Dr. William Hunter.
On Mother's Day 2013, authorities allege, Garcia killed Dr. Roger Brumback and his wife, Mary, in their home. Prosecutors say he also tried to break into the home of another doctor who wasn't home.
Garcia has maintained his innocence. He was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing Friday on the attempted burglary charge. But that was postponed so that a doctor can evaluate Garcia.
In fact, Dougherty delayed any further hearings and did not rule on the Mottas' request to separate the charges against Garcia.
Garcia essentially wants prosecutors to have to separately prove the Sherman and Hunter case; the Brumback killings; and the attempted burglary charge.