SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – Antolin Garcia-Torres, the 22-year-old man charged with kidnapping and murdering Morgan Hill teenager Sierra LaMar, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment hearing in Santa Clara County Superior Court Thursday afternoon.
The arraignment came after Garcia-Torres was indicted by a criminal grand jury earlier this week on charges of murder and kidnapping for the Sierra LaMar case.
“This case had many different court appearances, many court hearings, and it was moving along slowly,” said Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen. “While we understand and very much respect Mr. Garcia’s constitutional rights, that’s why we went to the criminal grand jury to expedite this process and enable us to get a trial date as soon as possible.”
He was also indicted on three counts of attempted kidnapping and carjacking for separate incidents in 2009 in which he allegedly accosted three women outside South Bay supermarkets.
After Garcia-Torres’ plea entry Thursday, Judge Thang Barrett set a hearing for April 16 to schedule a trial date and to hear the defense’s motion to keep the grand jury transcript sealed.
Sierra, 15, disappeared the morning of March 16, 2012, after leaving home for school. Her body has not yet been found but prosecutors allege she was murdered.