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Updated: Sierra LaMar Murder Suspect Waives Arraignment on Murder Charge

Suspect Antolin Garcia-Torres did not enter a plea to the charge, which could have him facing the death penalty.

SAN JOSE, CA -- The man suspected of killing a 15-year-old Northern California girl waived his arraignment Thursday afternoon on one count of murder with the special circumstance of kidnapping.

The charge against Sierra LaMar accused killer Antolin Garcia-Torres is eligible for the death penalty, but prosecutors have not yet decided whether to pursue that possible sentence.

A dozen Sierra LaMar supporters with signs such as "Stay strong, Sierra" were outside the courthouse in support of missing teen Sierra LaMar.

Garcia-Torres, who did not enter a plea, is being represented by Ken Mandel, public defender. The defendant's next court appearance is set for 2 p.m. on July 10, San Jose Hall of Justice, Department 23.

The prosector in the case is Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney David Boyd.

Presiding over what was supposed to be his arraignment Thursday was Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Jerome Nadler who told Garcia-Torres he has a right to a preliminary examination within 60 days of his first court date.

Nadler asked Garcia-Torres if he understood his rights, and he answered in the affirmative. "Yes, I do, your honor," he said in a low-tone voice, his hands and feet shackled and wearing jail garb.

Criminologist Steve Clark, an attorney who works as a legal analyst providing commentary on high-profile court cases for various news outlets, explained Mandel asked for more time to meet with Garcia-Torres to analyze the forensic evidence allegedly linking him to Sierra's murder.

"He could have had his preliminary hearing within 10 days from today, but that would have been a very risky strategy ... this is a heavily forensic evidence case that relies on DNA evidence. You're not going to rely on what the prosecution says is relevant about the DNA, you want your own experts," Clark said.

On May 24, however, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen filed the murder charge and held a press conference outside the courthouse announcing prosecutor David Boyd would try the high-profile case that's grabbed national headlines for the past few months since Sierra vanished on March 16 on her way to catch the morning bus to Sobrato High School in Morgan Hill.

Rosen said the murder charge is eligible for the death penalty.

He's being held without bail at the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose.

Court records obtained by Patch Tuesday reveal Garcia-Torres had his run-ins with public safety authorities in Morgan Hill and the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

Meanwhile, Klaas Kids Foundation volunteers continue their search for Sierra with a new effort scheduled for Saturday. Those participating are being asked to report to the "Find Sierra Search Center" at Burnett Elementary School at 85 Tilton Road in Morgan Hill.

Emma Spencer, a volunteer parent with the Sierra search team, said she had come with friends to the courthouse to get the word out that, "She's still missing. She needs to be found. We need more volunteers to come out and continue to look for her. Her family wants her home."

Clarification: This article has been revised. An earlier version said Antolin Garcia Torres had been arraigned, when in fact he waived his arraignment and is expected to enter a plea at 2 p.m., July 10.

melissa flores June 01, 2012 at 11:23 PM
I was thinking the same exact thing but what sucks is if he gets convicted our system is even more flawed
Kathi Szymczak June 01, 2012 at 11:41 PM
this is for Dfballou - there was a kidnapped barista named Samantha Koenig here in Anchorage a few months ago. She too was thought to still be alive when tragically, she wasnt! When they arrested the scumbag who killed her, he told authorities where to find her body and it came out later that he had contacted Sam's Dad for months after he kidnapped her and extorted a ransom, all the while, knowing he killed her w/in 24 hours of abducting her. So yes, douchebags can lie and will continue to until they know they cant anymore. They all think they can beat the charge.
Mary Smith June 02, 2012 at 12:04 AM
melissa flores ... I'm sorry ... what?? Please explain.
S.Gail June 02, 2012 at 02:44 AM
I have a daughter who's going to be 15 this month. My heart hurts for Sierras mother... When a dog attacks a human, they put it to sleep. Why? Because they cannot take the chance of it happening again. I, as a mother would not lose 1 nights sleep if they put this heartless & soulless animal to sleep. He's already dead inside anyway...
LUISA MANER June 07, 2012 at 02:35 AM
HANG HIM TODAY !!!!!!!

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