The Santa Clara County Superior Court judge in the Sierra LaMar murder case on Monday denied the defendant's request to further postpone the trial any longer, four years after the Morgan Hill teen disappeared from a bus stop near her home.
The accused killer, Antolin Garcia-Torres, and his legal team had asked that the court hold off until October 10 to commence trial proceedings, but that request was denied by Justice Vanessa Zecher. She said she found no good reason to further postpone the trial, which has already dragged on since shortly after Garcia-Torres' arrest in May 2012.
Sierra's father, Steve LaMar, stood up in court Monday and asked the judge to move forward. He said his family has been patient, but is now eager for justice.
"How precious she is and was to us, that's what we want to show this morning," Steve LaMar said. "We've exercised so much patience after four years of waiting for this. We're anxious for the court to get this going."
Steve LaMar in court sat afew rows behind Garcia-Torres. Attorney's representing Garcia-Torres asked to postpone the trial, with one lawyer arguing he needed a two-week vacation and another saying the defense team needed time to review newly analyzed evidence of Sierra's cell phone that was found days after her disappearance.
Despite Judge Zecher denying the defense's request, the trial will not start immediately. The judge scheduled motions for August 31 and tentative jury selection for September 19.
The 15-year-old Sierra disappeared near her Morgan Hill home in March 2012. To this day, her body has not been found.
"Until Sierra gains justice and the LaMars know what happened, then they will continue to hurt," family friend Debbie Nunes said. "The family deserves justice."
Prosecutors said DNA evidence found in Garcia-Torres' car and on Sierra's discarded clothing linked him to her death.
In April, a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge granted the defense team more time to test evidence, and there have been other delays in between.
Garcia-Torres, 25, faces the death penalty if convicted of kidnapping and killing Sierra.