SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - The man accused of killing missing Morgan Hill teenager Sierra LaMar is demanding a speedy trial, but it's still up in the air when this high profile murder case will begin. Antolin Garcia-Torres’s trial was anticipated to start Monday, but his public defenders are saying they need more time.
Sierra’s father Steve LaMar said the District Attorney’s Office informed him the trial would likely not start Monday. He said the family is used to delays and have even lowered their expectations to help them cope.
It’s been more than four years since the 15-year-old disappeared in March of 2012. Authorities arrested Garcia-Torres two months after the teen vanished on her way to school. Ever since then, Sierra’s family has been waiting for justice.
“It hasn't been fair since the beginning,” said Steve LaMar. “Nothing about this has really been fair.”
On Friday, despite objections from his lawyers, Garcia-Torres told a judge he wanted to stand trial within 60 days, exercising his constitutional right for a speedy trial.
“What Garcia-Torres is saying is I’m tired of waiting, I want my day in court and I’m ready for trial,” said Legal Analyst Steven Clark. “Now it's going to be up to lawyers to convince a judge whether they are ready for trial.”
Clark said the trial will likely not start Monday and may not even start before the 60-days are up on June since Garcia-Torres’s attorneys told a judge they aren't ready.
Clark said the public defenders may be tied up with other murder cases and can't be in two places at once. He also points to the complexity of the case given Garcia-Torres is facing the death penalty.
“This is going to be the highest profile case in the Bay Area since the Scott Peterson case so it's important things are done right,” said Clark. “That it is done efficiently but it's done fairly.”
Sierra’s body has never been found but prosecutors said her DNA was found in Garcia-Torres’s car and Garcia-Torres’s DNA was found on some of her clothing, thrown in a field near where she disappeared.
Clark said, since there's no body and no crime scene, testimony from DNA and forensics experts will be critical.
Sierra’s father is optimistic and hopeful the case will move forward because to this day they don't know what happened to Sierra.
“We need answers,” said Steve LaMar. “Worse than any other court delays and anything is just the not knowing what happened is one of the worst things to deal with.”
Garcia-Torres is scheduled to appear before a judge on Monday and it's then the judge can decide when this trial will start. Sierra's family plans to be there when the trial begins.
Sierra’s father said he's never seen Garcia-Torres in person because it would be too emotional for him, but he feels the time is now.