submit a death
Adolfo Garcia-Nunez (46) killed his girlfriend Jana Mackey (25) and then himself
Published: Jul 08, 2008 @ 11:24 PM
Adolfo Garcia-Nunez (46)
Jul 05, 2008
Murder & Suicide by:
Elizabeth, New Jersey
view their profile
Jana Mackey (25)
Jul 03, 2008
Cause of Death:
view their profile
The man held in the slaying of a University of Kansas law student and social activist has killed himself while in custody in New Jersey.
Lawrence police said Adolfo Garcia-Nunez, 46, had been arrested Friday evening and was being held in Elizabeth, N.J. The arrest occurred less than 24 hours after Jana Mackey's body was found in Garcia-Nunez's home in Lawrence.
His death caps an unusual relationship between a Cuban émigré artist, who served prison time for assaulting a former girlfriend in 2004, and a 25-year-old student from Hays, Kan., who was passionate about social justice causes, including domestic violence.
"I couldn't figure it out," said Christie Brungardt, Mackey's mother. "He was too old for her.
"She was all about public advocacy, particularly women's rights. She volunteered for anything that would impact the world in a more positive way."
New Jersey officials could not be reached Saturday. Lawrence police have declined to discuss how Mackey was killed or how Garcia-Nunez committed suicide.
Friends and associates described Mackey as a vivacious woman, mature for her years, who was engaged in many progressive causes. She received her undergraduate degree in women's studies from the University of Kansas in 2007 and was a second-year student at the KU School of Law.
"She was one of those people you look forward to talking to," said Elizabeth Cateforis, a KU law professor who is teaching a class in which Mackey was enrolled this summer.
"It was clear she was concerned about violence against women and she had worked as a rape counselor. It seemed to lean her toward being interested in becoming a prosecutor."
Garcia-Nunez came to the United States from Cuba in 1995, according to information posted on his MySpace Web site. His entry said he was born in Havana in 1971, but police records indicate it was 1961. The Web site stated Garcia-Nunez worked in Miami and Kansas City before coming to Lawrence.
Sally Piller, the owner of a Lawrence gallery where Garcia-Nunez exhibited his paintings, said Mackey acted as a business agent for the artist.
"She was very beautiful, and he referred to her as his angel and his muse," she said. "He seemed very sweet to me. . He did a beautiful portrait of her that was in the gallery."
Piller described Garcia-Nunez, who also went by the name Fito Garche, as a talented artist who employed unusual spiritual imagery.
"Some pieces were playful, some were visceral with a lot of religious imagery that did have blood in it," she said.
It wasn't until after Piller agreed to have a show for Garcia-Nunez's work earlier this year that she learned about his criminal past. He was sentenced in 2005 on assault and burglary charges, was incarcerated and released on parole in August 2006.
The Lawrence Journal-World reported that prosecutors charged Garcia-Nunez after he assaulted a 29-year-old former girlfriend in her home in 2004. The police report stated he choked and beat her, and then cut her arm with a knife before she was able to flee.
"I know his previous problems were a result of his alcohol abuse," Piller said. "He never drank at the openings and seemed to be trying to turn his life around.
"He was very mild-mannered, very friendly, even affectionate. He was very enthusiastic about his painting."
Still, the gallery owner said she was troubled by the relationship between Garcia-Nunez and Mackey.
"I've got to say, I was worried," she said. "I was surprised he'd have a relationship with her given that he had this in his past."
Brungardt said she had met Garcia-Nunez but declined to comment further, wanting instead to focus on her child's legacy.
Mackey graduated in 2000 from Hays High School.
"She was a very good singer and attended KU on a vocal music scholarship," Brungardt said. "She also was in music theater in high school and a dancer all through her K-12 years."
Mackey's academic career shifted two years after entering college when she took a course in the women's studies department.
Sara Burris, a correspondent for Rock the Trail, a project sponsored by Rock the Vote, said she first met Mackey at the KU Gay/Straight Alliance about 2002.
"Never was there a more caring, more compassionate, more brilliant and hilarious woman with each of those qualities and more all wrapped into the heart of one activist," Burris posted on her blog.
The two worked together in political campaigns, including the election of Democratic U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda of Kansas in 2006. Later, Mackey was a lobbyist in Topeka for gay and lesbian civil rights.
"It was hard to believe how young Jana was," said state Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat. "She was so poised and savvy and determined as a lobbyist for causes that are very sensitive. I was very impressed with her."
Tom Witt, the chairman of the Kansas Equality Coalition, said Mackey's decision to enroll in law school was an extension of her work combating discrimination.
"She believed passionately in what she was doing and was going to law school to get a degree and fight for legal rights for women, gays and lesbians and anybody she felt was oppressed," he said. "She was always willing to step into the fight."
Funeral services for Mackey will be 2 p.m. Wednesday in Liberty Hall, Lawrence.
In addition to her mother, she is survived by her father, Mike Mackey, and brothers Todd and Travis.
Man held in death of KU student kills himself
go back to article archive list
article loaded in 0 ms
Pamela Leonard (30) died after a battle with cancer
Pamela was born on January 19, 1986 and passed away on Saturday, February 20, 2016. Pamela was a resident of Miami Beach, Florida.
Valerie Leonard (32) died from complications of Cystic Fibrosis following an auto accident
Valerie Margaret Masterson Leonard, born on January 27, 1983, began the next stage of her life journey on January 12, 2016. She graduated from DeWitt High school in 2001, going on to obtain her Associates Degree in Graphic Arts from Lansing Community College in 2005.
Lorin Winchester (22) was killed in a speed-related motorcycle accident
Rapid City law enforcement officials say 22-year-old Lorin Winchester contributed to his traffic death Saturday by speeding on his motorcycle.
Alexis Wilde (15) died after Morgan Myers (15) crashed a vehicle that she was driving illegally
Alexis Wilde of Sioux City has been identified as the teen killed in a car accident Wednesday evening in Sioux City.
Placido Moreno-Torres (47) shot his wife Amparo Moreno (44) and their neighbor Ricardo Vaca (20) during an argument
A Florida man fatally shot and killed his wife and a well-intentioned neighbor who was trying to break up an argument between the couple Saturday, police said.
Copyright © 2009 MyDeathSpace.com