A judge Thursday ordered a new preliminary hearing for Adam Longoria after the state revised the charges against him in the killing of a 14-year-old girl.
Barton County District Judge Hannelore Kitts set the new hearing for Oct. 5, where prosecutors must show they have evidence to support their charges on how Alicia DeBolt died last summer.
Longoria, 37, faced a similar hearing last November, but new evidence prompted the prosecutors to change their theory of the case in an attempt to keep a charge of capital murder alive.
Initially, Longoria had been accused of killing DeBolt after sodomizing her. But DNA recovered from DeBolt's body later was determined to belong to an unknown male, Longoria's public defender Jeff Wicks told the judge.
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Now, the state has replaced criminal sodomy in the capital murder charge with attempted rape.
In the U.S., prosecutors cannot seek the death penalty for every murder. Kansas has outlined seven circumstances defining capital murder, including a killing during or following a rape or an attempted rape.
Evidence at Longoria's first preliminary hearing showed a mixture of DNA belonging to both Longoria and DeBolt in semen stains on the floor mat of a black Ford Escape. The vehicle was titled to Longoria's girlfriend, but he has admitted that he often drove it.
Neighbors have testified they saw DeBolt leave in a black SUV before midnight on Aug. 21, 2010. She told her parents she was going to a party. Her mother said she had a curfew of midnight. The teenager didn't come home.
The girl's burned body turned up days later at an asphalt plant south of Great Bend. She was bound in duct tape and her remains so badly charred that a coroner couldn't determine precisely how DeBolt died.
Because Longoria could face the death penalty if convicted, Kitts ruled that heightened legal scrutiny in such cases afforded him the right to a new preliminary hearing.
Deputy Attorney General Vic Braden also added a charge of indecent solicitation of a child, saying Longoria enticed the girl into the vehicle with the intention of sexually assaulting her.
Longoria faces an additional charge of stealing an SUV on Aug. 27 from a paving company which employed him. Longoria later was arrested near Salina.
As part of Thursday's hearing, Kitts also ruled that prosecutors could use evidence police seized from the house Longoria shared with his girlfriend and his cell phone, items taken from his car and biological samples used for DNA testing.
Longoria's lawyers, Wicks and Tim Frieden, said they intend to file their own motions claiming police illegally obtained that evidence and that it should be kept out of the trial.
The judge will consider other pretrial motions following Longoria's new preliminary hearing.
No trial date has been set.
The state now has four prosecutors working on the case.
Kevin O'Connor, a former deputy district attorney from Sedgwick County, joined the prosecution team as a special assistant attorney general. O'Connor is working with Braden, assistant attorney general Andy Bauch and Barton County Attorney Doug Matthews.