It has been more than eight years since the killing of 11-year-old Thomas Hunter, but his older brother feels the pain like it was yesterday — despite the fact that the killer is behind bars.
“I guess it provides some closure but I’m not sure if it gives me much in the way of satisfaction,” Tim Hunter tells PEOPLE.
Tim was 25-years-old when his father, Dr. William Hunter, a prominent doctor and director for the Department of Pathology at Creighton University, discovered the bodies of 11-year-old Thomas and the family’s 57-year-old housekeeper, Shirlee Sherman, in the Hunters’ Omaha home in 2008. Both victims were found with a knife stuck in the side of their necks.
At the time, police had no idea why someone would target Thomas, a feisty sixth grader who loved math, science and video games like The Legend of Zelda, or Shirlee, a warm-hearted grandmother who loved gardening.
“There were all kinds of theories going around and none of them had any more basis in fact than any of the others,” says Tim. “After three or four years I had pretty much given up on them ever figuring it out.”
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But the May 2013 murders of Roger and Mary Brumback, both 65, jumpstarted the investigation.
Roger, the former Chair of Creighton’s Department of Pathology, was found in the entranceway of his West Omaha home, shot three times and stabbed six times in the neck. Mary was discovered nearby in the living room, stabbed more than 20 times in the neck.
“All the wounds were in a small area of the right side of the neck,” Omaha Police Department homicide detective Derek Mois tells PEOPLE about the four slayings. “All of these wounds told us whoever did this was looking for this geographic spot. Someone knows anatomy is what it told us.”
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Within two months, authorities had arrested their prime suspect, Dr. Anthony Garcia, a former Creighton pathology resident. Authorities believe the killings were fueled by revenge after Brumback and Hunter fired him from Creighton University in 2001 and later wrote bad references, which had prevented him from getting work as a doctor in other states.
Hunter believes the murder of Thomas was intended to inflict pain on his father. “He went at a time of day he would know my parents wouldn’t be at home,” he says. “He wanted to cause anguish more than just simply take out the person who caused him trouble. I think he wanted to inflict more pain than that.”
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Garcia was charged with four counts of first-degree murder in July of 2013. In October, a jury found Garcia guilty of the four slayings. He was also was convicted of four counts of use of a deadly weapon and one count of attempted burglary. He has yet to be sentenced.
“It is kind of a sad reason for murder,” says Tim. “As far as justification for murder it is pretty kind of pathetic.”