Sierra LaMar case: South Bay jury convicts man in 2012 murder Published on May 09, 2017 at 06:31AM by By Evan Sernoffsky
The jury announced its verdict in a San Jose courtroom packed with Sierra’s family and friends, who had long sought justice for the teenager, whose body was never recovered.
The jury announced it’s verdict just after 9 a.m. in a San Jose courtroom packed with Sierra’s family and friends, who had long sought justice for the teenager, whose body was never recovered. The case will move on to the sentencing phase of the trial, during which the jury will decide whether 26-year-old Garcia-Torres should get the death penalty.
When Sierra failed to show up to school that day, her parents and friends began a frantic search for the vibrant and social teen. […] what started as a missing-person case grew increasing foreboding, when the next day, police tracked Sierra’s cell phone to a field less than a mile from her home. The search grew bleaker when Sierra’s purse, school books and clothing were discovered near a shed in another nearby field two days after her disappearance.
Despite not having a body or a crime scene, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office moved forward with charges – a gamble that could have been costly if Garcia-Torres was acquitted and new evidence was later discovered.
Using the defendant’s own words, security video, and physical evidence, deputy district attorney David Boyd laid out the case against Garcia-Torres over the more than three-month trial. Along with finding Garcia-Torres’ genetic material on Sierra’s abandoned clothing, detectives discovered her DNA in his car, and on the outside of a pair of gloves in the vehicle. During a theatrical closing argument, Lopez slammed the prosecution’s case and tried to drive home the point by filling a bucket until it overflowed with orange balls, each representing what he called “shame evidence.”
Lopez criticized how crime lab technicians handled the physical evidence, questioned the prosecution’s timeline.
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