WICHITA, Kansas — The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday upheld the convictions of a Great Bend man who in 2010 killed a 14-year-old cheerleader and burned her body at the asphalt plant where he worked.
A 61-page ruling affirmed Adam Longoria's capital murder 2012 conviction in the death of Alicia DeBolt, who disappeared after leaving her home the weekend before she would have started high school. Her body was found three days later.
In appealing the jury's verdict to the state's highest court, Longoria's attorneys raised numerous legal issues. Those included pretrial publicity, the judge's refusal to move the trial elsewhere, the sufficiency of evidence and possible juror misconduct, among others. The state Supreme Court rejected all the defense arguments.
The court found there was sufficient evidence Longoria committed a sexual crime against the girl, which in Kansas is required to support a conviction for capital murder.
Longoria is serving a sentence of life without parole. He also was convicted of vehicle burglary and theft.
Alicia was last seen leaving her home for a party just before midnight on Aug. 21, 2010. Text messages presented at trial showed Longoria, then 38 years old, picked Alicia up that night. He had started pursuing the girl after meeting her at a party the month before.
Her family reported her missing the next day, and her body was found at the Venture Corp. plant where Longoria worked.
The high court also rejected defense arguments that publicity surrounding the case was so pervasive that Longoria could not get a fair trial, saying Longoria failed to present evidence of "a lynch-mob mentality."
The trial judge was correct when he denied Longoria's request to move the trial to different location, the justices said, and committed no error by refusing to provide the jury with alternative instructions for lesser charges. The Supreme Court also sided with the judge, saying he didn't err by admitting as evidence a photograph of the victim taken before her death.
While the court noted that the prosecutor's sarcastic comments during closing arguments about Longoria's defense bordered on misconduct, it found his comments were within the bounds of argument because they always returned to discussion of specific evidence.