Hearing over psychological evaluation for Antolin Garcia-Torres to be held

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The penalty phase begins Tuesday to determine the sentence for Antolin Garcia-Torres in the kidnapping and murder of Morgan Hill teenager Sierra LaMar, who disappeared five years ago as she was on her way to school. (KGO-TV)

The penalty phase begins Tuesday to determine the sentence for Antolin Garcia-Torres for the kidnap and murder of Morgan Hill teenager Sierra LaMar, who disappeared on March 16, 2012 on her way to school. She has never been found.

VIDEO: Sierra LaMar's family speaks after verdict announced
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The family of missing Morgan Hill teen Sierra LaMar spoke outside the Santa Clara County Courthouse after a guilty verdict was announced for the man charged in her kidnapping and murder.



Prosecution and defense attorneys were in the courtroom of Judge Vanessa Zecher Monday morning to go over rules for their opening statements and for other procedural matters without the jury present.

The main disagreement is over allowing prosecutor David Boyd to have a psychologist do a separate evaluation of the convicted killer, just as the defense has done with its own psychologist. However, the judge did not render a decision on Monday. She is asking the defense's psychologist to appear in court Wednesday, again without the jury present, to outline what she discussed with Garcia-Torres during a one-hour meeting and what conclusions, if any, she reached.



The defense is arguing that Garcia-Torres grew up in an unstable family environment, exposing him to abuse, neglect and poverty.

The judge has asked to see an unredacted 34-page social-psycho report on Garcia-Torres, which will be kept under seal. A redacted version was shared with the prosecution.

In this sketch, a clerk is seen reading a verdict reached by a jury in the Sierra LaMar kidnapping and murder case in San Jose, Calif. on Tuesday, May 5, 2017.



Monday's hearing also provided some insight into what the prosecution and defense attorneys will do before the jury as they decide what sentence Garcia-Torres should receive. Their options are a life sentence without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.

"The prosecution believes that's not fair if they don't get a chance to also interview Garcia-Torres and have him tested psychologically to say we don't believe the defense expert. We want our expert to get on the stand and tell who this person really is," legal analyst Steven Clark said.

Boyd has tentative plans to call 24 witnesses, most of whom will give witness impact statements as to how the death of Sierra has affected them. That will include the three adult women whom Garcia-Torres was convicted last week of kidnapping in 2009, at two Safeway parking lots in Morgan Hill. The prosecutor had argued those three events were practice runs for what happened three years later -- the kidnapping and murder of Sierra.

The defense and the judge are asking for fewer prosecution witnesses. The court is also restricting the number of photos and videos of Sierra that can be shown in court. The defense wants to show a 21-minute video of a Garcia-Torres' family birthday party to give jurors an opportunity to see him with family and children.

ABC7 News brought you live coverage on TV and online after the verdict was announced. Click here to download the ABC7 News app for free. And be sure to enable push alerts to be the first to know about breaking news.


Related Topics:
sierra lamartrialmurdermurder mysteryjury dutycourtcourt casemissing personmissing girlDNAinvestigationsanta clara countypsychologySan JoseMorgan Hill
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