SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — At day two of the trial of the man accused of killing Sierra LaMar, the defense attorney attacked the evidence.
“What the defense had to do in their opening statement is begin to plant seeds of doubt in the jury’s mind,” said legal analyst Steven Clark.
That meant attacking the DNA evidence that prosecutors say links Antolin Garcia-Torres to Sierra Lamar’s disappearance and death.
Defense attorney Al Lopez told jurors that investigators mishandled evidence, potentially contaminating items on which prosecutors say Sierra’s and the defendant’s DNA was found.
“It’s clear from this case that the battleground is going to be the DNA evidence,” says Clark. “What the defense did today was try to cast doubt on that evidence from the outset.”
Garcia-Torres is accused of kidnapping and killing LaMar as she walked to the school bus stop in 2012.
Prosecutors have also charged him with three attempted kidnappings from 2009, which they claim were dress rehearsals for LaMar’s abduction.
Once again, the victim’s family was joined in court by scores of volunteers who’d helped search for the missing teen.
“I think a lot of people are eager to have the trial start and have justice served,” said searcher Roger Nelson.
The defense told jurors to expect the prosecution to attack the defendant’s character but asked them not to be fooled by efforts to distract them from a case, they claim is built on circumstantial evidence and questionable science.