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June 12, 2021

Garcia Torres again declines to enter plea

The Superior Court judge presiding over the case of Antolin Garcia Torres Thursday ordered prosecutors to hand over digital evidence that the defense attorney has requested multiple times.

Authorities declined to specify exactly what kind of evidence was in question. The defense received the files once, but the device on which they were stored crashed. Prosecutors gave the defense the same evidence again after Thursday’s hearing.

Garcia Torres, 21 of Morgan Hill, is accused of kidnapping and murdering Sierra LaMar, who disappeared from her north Morgan Hill home March 16, 2012 at the age of 15.

He waived his right to appear for his scheduled plea hearing Thursday at the Hall of Justice in San Jose, according to authorities. His attorney from the Santa Clara County Alternate Defender’s Office appeared on his behalf, and did not enter a plea to the charge of murder with a special circumstance of kidnapping.

His next hearing, also scheduled for a plea, will be April 18 in San Jose.

The evidence sought by Garcia Torres’ attorney, Tracy Owens, was previously provided by prosecutors from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office, according to Deputy District Attorney David Boyd.

Boyd said the evidence was uploaded to a hard drive that was provided by the defendant, but that hard drive crashed at some point since the defense received it, Boyd said.

Prosecutors, who still have the original evidence, then burned all the files onto CDs and provided those to Owens Thursday after the hearing, Boyd said.

The files consist of phone records, photos, videos, audio interviews and other evidence, though Boyd said he didn’t recall exactly which files were lost or damaged when the defendant received them.

Owens said some of the files were “corrupted” but she declined to say what kind of evidence they couldn’t access on the hard drive.

Garcia Torres was arrested May 21, 2012, on suspicion of kidnapping and murdering Sierra. Investigators with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office think Sierra disappeared while she was walking to her school bus stop close to her mother’s home near Palm and Dougherty avenues in north Morgan Hill.

Sierra was a sophomore at Sobrato High School when she disappeared. She had moved to Morgan Hill from Fremont with her mother about six months before she disappeared.

Garcia Torres remains in custody in Santa Clara County Jail. Since his arrest in relation to Sierra’s kidnapping, he has been charged with attempting to kidnap three women in the parking lots of two Safeway stores in Morgan Hill in three separate incidents in 2009. 

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