SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) --The fate of accused murderer Antolin Garcia-Torres is hours from going to a jury comprised of seven women and five men in the case of missing Morgan Hill teenager Sierra LaMar.
Garcia-Torres is on trial for her murder, even though no crime scene and no body have been found. LaMar has not been seen since leaving home for school March 16, 2012. She was 15 at the time.
For three months, starting January 30, 26-year-old Garcia-Torres and members of the LaMar family have sat just feet away from each other, separated by a railing in a sixth floor courtroom at the Santa Clara County Courthouse in San Jose.
A detective from the sheriff's office was the last witness to testify, explaining how surveillance video from an RV park, a gas station and a private residence had been recorded over by the time he went to check if the video might provide evidence, potentially tying Garcia-Torres to LaMar.
The jury will hear closing arguments by the prosecutor and the defense attorney starting Tuesday morning after the judge provides the panel with instructions.
Garcia-Torres is also facing attempted kidnapping charges of three women outside grocery stores in Morgan Hill in 2009.
Members of the jury were heard laughing and talking about travel plans as they relaxed during an in camera break in the proceedings Monday morning with the attorneys and judge meeting privately outside the courtroom.
After hearing from witnesses for weeks, the jurors appear to have become friends over lunch breaks. They are not allowed to discuss the case among themselves or with others. Once sequestered and deliberations begin, legal analyst Steven Clark, a former prosecutor, told ABC7 News that the jurors face a difficult task of reviewing evidence and testimony and reaching a unanimous verdict.
However, it takes only one or more than one juror, Clark points out, to cause deliberations to become protracted.
If convicted Garcia-Torres could be sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.
David Louie will have more analysis about what the focus of the closing arguments might be and how the jury will reach its verdict starting at 5 p.m. on ABC7 News.
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