SAN JOSE — Antolin Garcia-Torres, 21, the man accused of kidnapping and murdering Morgan Hill teen Sierra LaMar, was charged with murder Thursday afternoon after a brief appearance this afternoon at the Hall of Justice.
However, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Jerome Nadler postponed the formal reading of the charges filed against him to 2 p.m. on May 31 to allow whoever will represent Garcia-Torres a chance to read the criminal complaint filed today against the defendant on one count of murder.
A public defender is expected to be appointed to Garcia-Torres, but no bail was allowed, Judge Nadler said.
Inside the courtroom were Garcia's mother, Laura, sister Lucero and other relatives and friends of the defendant. Also attending the hearing were volunteers who have been searching for Sierra's body. Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith, who is the lead investigator of the case, was also in attendance.
Near the front steps of the Hall of Justice a small group of Sierra supporters chanted, "Sierra, we love you." One held a placard that read, "Where is she?"
Monday at 9:20 p.m. at Tennant Avenue and Monterey Road in Morgan Hill by Santa Clara County Sheriff's deputies in connection to the March 16 disappereance of 15-year-old Sierra.
During a packed courtroom hearing in Department 23 on the basement floor of the Santa Clara County Superior Court building on Hedding Street, about 30 media representatives showed up early to get a seat inside the court room to cover the high-profile, national case.
The girl vanished on her way to catch a 7:20 a.m. school bus to Sobrato High School, where she was a sophomore.
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 prior to his arrest Monday.
He was of two misdemeanor crimes in 2009 and was arrested June 16, 2010 for felony battery and unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor between Oct. 1, 2009 and June 9, 2010.
Morgan Hill police are also linking him to at least one of on women committed during a seven-day period outside two Safeway stores in their city in March of 2009.
Authorities held a news conference Tuesday morning to announce that Garcia-Torres was their main suspect in the case and that DNA evidence discovered on Sierra’s purse and clothing, found off the side of the road about a mile northwest of her home, linked Garcia-Torres to the crime and that her DNA was also found in the suspect’s vehicle — a red, mid-1990s Volkswagen Jetta
Garcia-Torres' arrest followed more than two months of searches for the girl to no avail. Her body remains missing, but authorities say they have positively linked him through DNA evidence to her murder.
For more reports on the Sierra LaMar case and the most recent updates, refer to the Sierra LaMar Disappearance: Comprehensive Updates and Information page on Gilroy Patch.