Sierra LaMar murder trial: Antolin Garcia-Torres sentenced to life in prison
SAN JOSE (KTVU/BCN) -- A Santa Clara County jury on Monday handed down a life sentence without the possibility of parole for Antolin Garcia-Torres in the murder of a 15-year-old Morgan Hill girl five years ago.
The penalty phase verdict for Garcia-Torres, convicted last month in the death of Sierra LaMar, was announced at 1:30 p.m.
Garcia-Torres showed no emotion when the verdict was announced. He was flanked on both sides by his defense attorney. Jurors were unanimous in their decision to hand down a life sentence and rejected imposing the death penalty.
"Today a jury decided the fate of a child murder," Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said after the verdict was announced. "The jury made it so he will die in prison and never take another breath as a free man."
"Yes, it is a day of justice and accountability, but no, Sierra is not coming home," Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said.
"Human justice can hold the guilty accountable, but it cannot resurrect the dead," Rosen said.
"Yes, it is a day of justice and accountability, but no, Sierra is not coming home," Rosen said. "Human justice can hold the guilty accountable, but it cannot resurrect the dead," Rosen said.
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Sierra's father held his face in his hands, shaking his head in court after Zecher read the verdict.
"I would be lying if I didn't say I was disappointed in the verdict," Steve LaMar, said outside the courthouse. "He'll be able to live. Sierra won't. He'll be able to breathe. Sierra doesn't."
Sierra's mother, Marlene LaMar, said she was relieved that Garcia-Torres would die in prison.
"I feel at peace that he will not be on the streets and harm another child," Marlene LaMar said. "There are lifelong consequences following evil actions. He can make it right by being honest with himself, our family and his family."
On May 9, 2017, the same jury found Garcia-Torres guilty of murdering LaMar on March 16, 2012. The penalty phase of the trial began May 16, a week after Garcia-Torres was convicted for the slaying.
Sierra's body has not been found since she missed her school bus to Ann Sobrato High School in Morgan Hill that morning.
Outside the courthouse, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith called on Garcia-Torres to reveal the location of Sierra's body.
"If Garcia-Torres has one ounce of humanity or a shred of humanity in that cold-hearted murderer's heart, I call on him today to tell us where Sierra is so we can bring her home," Smith said.
Garcia-Torres was arrested two months after the girl's disappearance when his DNA was found on her clothing, which was recovered in a field near her bus stop.
During the penalty phase of the trial, Garcia-Torres' mother, sister and cousins testified about the poverty, abuse, incest, neglect, loss, incarceration and addiction that have afflicted the defendant and his family throughout his life.
Garcia-Torres' father, an alcoholic who sexually abused a female relative from age 5 to 14 while Garcia-Torres was growing up, is serving a life sentence at Salinas Valley State Prison.
The defense presented the mitigating evidence in order to evoke sympathy for Garcia-Torres, but was not legally allowed to present it as an explanation for the crimes committed.
Bay City News contributed to this report.