A cousin of abducted Morgan Hill teen Sierra LaMar said Monday that the family "definitely supports" the Santa Clara County district attorney's decision to seek the death penalty against her alleged captor and killer, saying they are "glad that he has chosen to do the right thing."
Sierra's body has not been found and legal analysts speculated Monday that the prospect of the death penalty might be used as leverage to compel Antolin Garcia-Torres to lead investigators to her.
Keith LaMar, who has served as a family spokesman since 15-year-old Sierra disappeared in March 2012 on her way to school, said the topic arose during a conversation with the prosecuting attorney, who told them the decision was not made in order "to raise our bargaining power."
Nevertheless, LaMar said, "If we can bring Sierra home, that's ultimately what we want. If this prompts that in his mind, then we're certainly not going to think that's a bad thing."
Bringing her home, he said, is the family's top priority, "but punishing this individual for what he's done is probably second in order."
Antolin, 22, was indicted by a grand jury in connection with the kidnapping and killing and pleaded not guilty in February. He also faces charges of attempting to kidnap three other women during carjackings in 2009, when he was 17.
Volunteer search teams, which once numbered in the hundreds, continue to look every Saturday for Sierra, who is presumed dead.
Dist. Atty. Jeff Rosen in a statement Monday said the decision was made by a death penalty review committee, which includes him and other top prosecutors. Physical evidence on Sierra's recovered clothes and in Garcia-Torres car link him to the disappearance, prosecutors allege.