It's been more than a year and a half since his arrest, and the man accused of kidnapping and killing Morgan Hill teenager Sierra Lamar still has not answered to the charges. Monte Francis reports.
It’s been more than a year and a half since his arrest, and the man accused of kidnapping and killing Morgan Hill teenager Sierra Lamar still has not answered to the charges.
Antolin Garcia Torres appeared in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Thursday and again, refused to enter a plea.
Garcia Torres’ public defender told the judge the defense was “making progress,” but still had more evidence to review.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Sharon Chatman refused to enter a plea on the defendant’s behalf and set a new hearing date for March 3. At that time, she said she expected that a date for a preliminary hearing would be set, and that Garcia Torres would also enter a plea.
The ongoing delay is characterized in court documents (PDF) as a back-and-forth between prosecutors and defense attorneys over the sharing of evidence.
In court on Thursday, it appeared that the dispute had been settled, and that the defense just wanted more time to review the evidence.
Prosecutors say they have DNA evidence linking Garcia Torres to the crime but Lamar’s body has never been found.
A group of about a dozen people who identified themselves as supporters of Sierra Lamar’s family attended Thursday’s hearing. Doug Tollis, who coordinates bi-weekly searches for Lamar said they refuse to give up looking.
“We’re trying to find Sierra,” Tollis said. “We’d like to bring her back whole, but if not, we’d like to get some evidence so there can be the death penalty for this man.”