TIMELINE: Sierra LaMar kidnapping, murder investigation case
Garcia-Torres was convicted of LaMar's kidnapping and murder exactly one week ago.
The job of the defense attorneys is going to be challenging. They failed to convince the jury LaMar was a possible runaway and still could be alive. During the penalty phase that starts today, a defense psychologist is lined up to take the stand to testify about Garica-Torres troubled family life while growing up.
A deputy also testified last month that he saw Garcia-Torres throw a suspicious item into a trash can at the courthouse. He says it was a plastic bag twisted and knotted into what looked like a strangulation device. The significance of that testimony was not explained. The defense argued Garcia-Torres could have just made that item out of boredom.
Deputy says item appeared to be strangulation device Garcia Torres made out of a sandwich bag. Testifies it could be weapon #SierraLaMar— Janine De la Vega (@JanineDLV) May 16, 2017
The defense is asking for a sentence of life in prison for Garcia-Torres.
"This is going to be a difficult balancing act for the defense because at the same time they said Sierra is still out there and could still be alive, the jury rejected that and now the jury believes that Garcia-Torres knows where LaMar is. It's a difficult showing of remorse if you don't come forward with that information," said Steven Clark, legal analyst.
The prosecution can call up family and friends to make victim statements on how the death of LaMar has impacted them. Defense attorney Brian Matthews told the jury they will hear from Garcia-Torres' family about his rough childhood, and from the mother of his two kids about what a caring father he is.
Legal analysts say the penalty phase could last weeks depending on how long the jury deliberates.
"The fact that he's a father and he has a limited criminal history and the fact he has suffered challenges in his upbringing that other people never suffered. And, the defense is stressing we accept the verdict but now we want to tell you how we got to this point," Clark said.
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