General Crime

Sierra LaMar’s Alleged Killer Returns to Court Today

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The man charged with kidnapping and murdering 15-year-old Sierra LaMar last year will appear in Santa Clara County Superior Court in San Jose today in a case fraught with pretrial delays. Antolin Garcia Torres, 21, was charged on May 31, 2012, with murder and kidnapping with special circumstances in connection with the disappearance of Sierra, who was last seen at her home near Morgan Hill before leaving for school on March 16, 2012.

Garcia Torres will be in court this afternoon for a discovery hearing at the Hall of Justice in San Jose, court spokesman Joe Macaluso said. He is not expected to enter a plea today, Macaluso said. The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office arrested Garcia Torres on May 21 of last year after detectives reported finding DNA believed to be Sierra’s inside his red Volkswagen Jetta.

Sierra’s body still has not been found despite many searches by volunteers in the Morgan Hill area. The case has gone through several pretrial hearings and postponements since April 4, when the defendant’s lawyers said prosecutors had not turned over all case evidence for their review. Deputy District Attorney David Boyd said after the April hearing that digital files of evidence on compact discs had been corrupted and the files had to be recopied for the defense.

Judge Sharon Chatman set a hearing for April 18 but that was continued to May 16, then again to June 27 and most recently to today. Garcia Torres also faces three counts of attempted kidnapping — charges filed by the district attorney’s office on Nov. 13 in connection with assaults against three women on March 19 and March 26, 2012, in Safeway parking lots in Morgan Hill.

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