Sierra Lamar's Accused Killer Remains Jailed While Arraignment is Delayed

By: Brian Shields - Thu, 24 May 2012 22:14:02 -0800

SAN JOSE (KRON) -- The man accused of kidnapping and murdering 15-year old Sierra Lamar will remain in the Santa Clara County jail without bail until his next court appearance on May 31st.

Antolin Garcia-Torres appeared in court for less than two minutes Thursday to hear the charges read against him.  The judge agreed to delay the hearing for nearly a week so the public defenders office could have more time to review the case.

"I can tell you that we are carefully and painstakingly going through all of the evidence that we have thus far,"  Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen told reporters after the hearing.  "I can tell you we're doing everything in our power to seek the truth and to seek justice for Sierra Lamar."

Prosecutors later released details in the court filings that they say justifies the charges against Garcia-Torres.  The evidence the 15-year old high school cheerleader is dead appears mostly circumstantial.

"Sierra LaMar has no independent means of support," the probable cause statement reads. "All of her known personal belongings, including her asthma inhaler, her money, her house keys and the clothing she was wearing the morning of her disappearance, have been located."

The statement also details forensic evidence including DNA found in Sierra' Juicy handbag and in Garcia-Torres' car, a red VW Jetta with a black hood.

Several volunteers who have been searching for the missing girl held up signs that read "Where is Sierra?" apparently in hopes of having Garcia-Torres' family members see them.  However the suspect's family waited more than an hour and a half before leaving and by that time the demonstrators were gone, KRON 4's J.R. Stone reports.  J.R. attempted to talk with several of the defendant's family members but they all refused comment and referred him to the public defender.  J.R. says Garcia-Torres' mother appeared to have been crying as she left the courthouse.  She would only say that she had already delivered a message to her son in jail.

Prosecutors must still determine if they will seek the death penalty if Garcia-Torres is convicted of the murder with special circumstances.

"This charge of murder with the special circumstance of kidnapping is a death penalty eligible charge," Rosen added.  "In the District Attorney's office we have a protocol in making our decision as to whether to seek the death penalty and we do that after reviewing all of the evidence in the case, after speaking with the victim's family, after going through aspects of the defendant's life to inform our decision.  We will also invite his attorney to speak with us before we make a final decision in that matter."

Stay tuned to KRON 4 and for comprehensive coverage of the search for Sierra Lamar and the case against Antolin Garcia-Torres.

(Copyright 2012, KRON 4, All rights reserved.)
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