Possible Death Penalty Sought For Sierra LaMar Suspected Killer

Antolin Garcia Torres' plea date is now scheduled for April 4.

The death penalty could be sought for Morgan Hill teen Sierra LaMar's suspected kidnapper and killer Antolin Garcia Torres, a county prosecutor said Wednesday.

"Death can be sought [in this case] but a decision to seek death has not been made," said Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney David Boyd.

Boyd's comments came after a brief court hearing in Department 23 of the San Jose Hall of Justice where Garcia Torres' new plea hearing was set for 9 a.m. April 4.

Boyd said such a hearing will be preceded by a motion's hearing for subpoenaed records by Garcia Torres' attorneys on Feb. 20.

The prosecutor said he had agreed to file his response to their motion by the end of this week.

Every document being filed on the case is being posted online due to Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Richard Loftis Jr.'s order that all records in the case must be scanned and uploaded to the Santa Clara County Superior Court's website.

Garcia Torres, 21, was arrested May 21, 2012 and has sat incarcerated for more than eight months without entering a plea, but Boyd said such a delay is not unusual.

Sierra, who was 15 at the time, vanished the morning of March 16, 2012 on her way to Sobrato High School in Morgan Hill. Her body is still missing.

His DNA was found on the girl's clothing located in a field near her school bus stop and two miles away from her home. And Sierra's DNA was found in Garcia Torres' red Volkswagen Jetta.

Torres lived about seven miles from Sierra's home. In April of 2012, investigators seized the vehicle and submitted it to the crime lab for processing and analysis.

"When you're dealing with a case that involves a kidnapping and a murder and special circumstances where death can be sought this is quite common," he said.

Boyd said he believes Garcia Torres is guilty and wants to make sure he's held accountable for the crime.

If the death penalty is not sought and he's found guilty of the charges, he could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

If Boyd seeks the death penalty a trial could take longer to occur. If not, a trial could come sooner, he said.

Garcia Torres is also facing felony kidnap and carjacking charges related to three incidents in 2009 in Morgan Hill, where's he's from.

Tom Barrett, of Hollister, drove all the way to San Jose Wednesday to attend the hearing. He said he's been helping search for Sierra's body since she was reported missing.

"I'm one of her searchers," he said. "We're still looking for her."

Barrett said missing-children advocate Marc Klaas has worked hard to bring attention to the case and has been attending court proceedings.

About 40 people gather at Morgan Hill's Burnett Elementary School to search for the girl on Saturdays in South County, he added.

To read the statement of facts in the Sierra LaMar kidnapping and murder case, please see attached PDF.


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