Accused serial killer Anthony Garcia scribbled notes about changing his identity, getting a fishing boat and crossing a lake into Canada, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Defense attorney Alison Motta asked Judge Duane Dougherty to prevent prosecutors from using or referencing such notes at Garcia’s April 4 trial on charges that he killed four Omahans.
She said the scribblings have no relevance and no roots in reality.
“They could be the writings of a fictional play or something that happened 10 years ago,” Motta argued. “It was well after any of the events (alleged crimes). There’s no reason to assume that they are relevant to any event in this case.”
That was one of many motions taken up Wednesday during a hearing ahead of Garcia’s April 4 trial.
Among the others: Garcia asked that jurors be sequestered while they deliberate whether he is guilty or innocent of the March 2008 slayings of 11-year-old Thomas Hunter and Shirlee Sherman and the May 2013 killings of Dr. Roger Brumback and his wife, Mary.
Prosecutors allege Garcia killed as revenge for his 2001 firing from Creighton University by Thomas’s father, Dr. William Hunter, and by Dr. Brumback.
Dougherty took all of the pretrial motions under advisement. The judge likely will not rule on the motions until trial. Many judges take up the issues as they are presented at trial.
One piece of evidence that attorney Robert Motta Sr. wants excluded: Testimony from an Indiana stripper who said that Garcia, in an effort to show he was a bad boy, bragged to her about killing an old woman and a young boy.
Robert Motta said the woman, Cecilia Hoffman, cannot recall a specific time or date that the conversation took place. Her recollection is unreliable, he argued.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said the state plans to call Hoffman — and that her testimony is reliable.
However, prosecutors have dropped their attempts to seek sanctions against Alison Motta on allegations that she threatened Hoffman by saying she would like Hoffman to “disappear.”
Alison Motta has denied that she ever threatened Hoffman. Others have said that her full quote was something to the effect of: “Honey, I would love for you to disappear but you and I know that ain’t going to happen.”
Robert Motta Sr. said he’s glad prosecutors withdrew the motion, saying it wasn’t fair to Alison and that Kleine probably filed it without hearing the audiotape of Alison Motta’s conversation with Hoffman.
Steph Shearer — an Omaha attorney hired to defend Motta against sanctions — asked the judge to seal prosecutors’ motion, saying it risks harming Alison Motta’s reputation.
Asked why he withdrew the motion he filed last summer, Kleine said: “All of our focus right now is getting ready for the trial.”
Among the motions that Dougherty took under advisement, the Mottas asked the judge to:
» Sequester the jury during deliberations. Such a motion will be granted, in keeping with state law.
» Prevent the prosecution from showing jurors “gruesome” autopsy photos of the victims.
» Preclude Omaha police detectives from commenting on their initial impressions of how similar the 2008 and 2013 crime scenes were in terms of how the victims were found. That should be left to experts, Alison Motta argued.
» Allow Garcia to attend a deposition of a dog handler in Illinois. Dougherty and Kleine indicated that wasn’t going to happen.
» Order prosecutors to pare down their list of possible witnesses, which numbers close to 1,000.
“If they called 1,000 witnesses,” the elder Robert Motta said, “I wouldn’t be alive at the end of the case.”
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