Grand jury transcripts released in Sierra LaMar case

A Santa Clara County judge unsealed the grand jury transcripts from the Sierra LaMar murder investigation.
The grand jury transcripts were released Friday in the case against Antolin Garcia-Torres, the man charged with kidnapping and murdering Sierra LaMar. There are nearly 2,000 pages of transcripts.

According to the evidence presented to the grand jury, Antolin Garcia-Torres was quickly identified as a suspect. He was interviewed twice by detectives nearly three weeks after 15-year-old Sierra LaMar disappeared in March of 2012.

Legal analyst Steven Clark says it was in those interviews that Garcia-Torres implicated himself. He says, "He started to volunteer answers to questions that weren't asked. And the most damaging of which is regarding how his bodily fluids could be contained at the Sierra LaMar crime scene."

According to the transcript, his DNA was found on a pair of her pants recovered in a field near her home in Morgan Hill. Her clothes also had fibers from his red Volkswagen Jetta. When it was confiscated by police, they also found her DNA on an armrest inside the car and her hair was found on a rope discovered inside the trunk. Clark says that's a key piece of evidence.

"The defense is going to have a big fight as to how there's an explanation for that huge piece of evidence for the prosecution," Clark says.

LaMar's body has not been found, so detectives and prosecutors have assembled this case mostly based on DNA. However, they have also linked Garcia-Torres to a series of attempted carjackings in 2009. Those were violent attacks on women at the Safeway parking lot in Morgan Hill. His fingerprints were found on a stun gun used in one of those attacks. Detectives also placed him at those scenes by tracking the Safeway card he used.

"They're putting those three other attacks that Garcia-Torres is responsible for as part of a bigger picture. He's a sexual predator. He preys on women," Clark says.

Garcia-Torres was indicted by the Santa Clara County grand jury in February. His attorneys tried to keep the transcripts sealed, saying details could unfairly bias potential members of a jury in his trial.

The Santa Clara County district attorney is seeking the death penalty.

Our media partner, the San Jose Mercury News won a court battle to make the secret grand jury testimony public.
Related Topics:
news sierra lamar murder investigation crime santa clara county court case Morgan Hill San Jose
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