murder and kidnapping suspect Antolin Garcia-Torres waived his appearance in court today. Instead, his attorneys asked for his plea hearing to be postponed yet again due to their subpoenaing of cell phone records that are now under seal.
During a court hearing Tuesday morning at the San Jose Hall of Justice, Judge Jerome Nadler set the case's next appearance for 2 p.m., Aug. 29 for a possible plea entering and subpoena hearing.
The brief proceeding, attended by tons of media and Sierra LaMar supporters, lasted only a few minutes, with Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney David Boyd walking out of the courtroom declining to speak to reporters.
Garcia-Torres is facing the charge of murder with the special circumstance of kidnapping. Authorities believe the 21-year-old Morgan Hill resident kidnapped and murdered Morgan Hill teen Sierra LaMar, 15, who was last seen the morning of March 16.
Criminal attorney and legal analyst Steven Clark — who is not connected to the case in any way — was present during the proceeding. He explained the defense subpoeaned Verizon cell phone records from the court that the prosecution wasn't made aware of, as required.
Boyd objected to their release, however, the matter could be heard at the next court date, Clark said. About the plea continuing to be delayed, Clark said there's a mountain of evidence to go over, not just about Garcia-Torres, but the way the investigation was conducted and they need time to review those documents.
An interesting turn in the case is the defense's maneuver not to bring Garcia-Torres into the courtroom, according to Clark. "That suggests they're satisfied with his presentation at the last court date. Knowing that this is heavily covered, they don't want additional video of their client," Clark said.
About how long can the defense go without entering a plea, Clark said the judge will give Garcia-Torres' attorneys a lot of latitude in the case.
"There's a recognition that this is a huge investigation that is continuing, is very fluid," he said. "The judge will give them all the time they need."
For previous coverage of the Sierra LaMar case, refer to the Sierra LaMar Disappearance: Comprehensive Updates and Information page on Gilroy Patch.