Defense gives opening remarks in Sierra LaMar murder trial

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Defense attorneys for Antolin Garcia-Torres delivered opening statements to jurors in the trial for the murder of Sierra LaMar.

LaMar was 15 years old when she disappeared while walking to a school bus stop in Morgan Hill back in 2012.

DNA analyzed by investigators may be the crucial evidence that the jury of six women and six men will have to consider when deciding whether 25-year-old Antolin Garcia-Torres murdered Sierra LaMar.

The prosecutor says Garcia-Torres' DNA was found on LaMar's jeans, discovered dumped in a bag near her Morgan Hill home.

On Tuesday, the defense team, led by attorney Al Lopez told the jury that DNA protocol was not followed, and the bag and its clothing were contaminated, corrupting the DNA analysis.

"I think the defense did a good job in establishing that the protocols of the DNA evidence collection were not followed, and the prosecution now will have to shore that up through their own experts," said Steven Clark, a legal analyst.

Defense attorneys also tore apart the district attorney's assertion that Garcia-Torres tried to kidnap three women separately in the parking lots of two Safeway stores in Morgan Hill in 2009, three years before Sierra LaMar disappeared.

Not one of the three kidnapping victims could pick out Garcia-Torres in a photo lineup.

In court, Garcia-Torres looked composed as he listened to attorneys talk about him and the evidence that may or may not lead to his conviction.

One of the volunteer search organizers thinks the jury has a lot to consider after hearing the opening statements from both sides.

"I think the jurors are going to have their work cut out for them. I know that Mr. Boyd was very thorough yesterday and again this morning," said Roger Nelson, a volunteer search coordinator on the case.

If convicted, 25-year-old Garcia-Torres could face the death penalty.
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