Up until the last hour or so of her life, 14-year-old Alicia DeBolt and her girlfriends exchanged text messages about what they would wear and take to the first day of school. One question they debated: flip flops or tennis shoes.
“Tennis shoes,” Alicia texted to a girlfriend.
That message from her cell phone came at 10:44 p.m. on Aug. 21, 2010, less than two days before the start of her freshman year of high school. That night she had just returned from a family trip to Wichita to get new clothes and “bling” for school. That much was innocent.
But prosecutors allege there was nothing innocent about the repeated text messages the 14-year-old was getting from Adam Longoria, a 36-year-old ex-con from Texas.
Wednesday marked the fifth day of testimony in Longoria’s capital murder trial in Alicia’s death, and much of the testimony focused on text messages between the cell phones belonging to the two.
As KBI intelligence analyst Stephanie Smith presented the messages on a screen for jurors, prosecutor Kevin O’Connor kept noting the age difference between Longoria and Alicia and that texts from Longoria’s phone kept pressing for contact with Alicia. They had met at a July 17 party, where witnesses have testified that Longoria voiced interest in taking Alicia out.
At least one witness has testified that Longoria told others he was texting Alicia on behalf of others. Longoria’s attorney has argued that it can’t be proven who sent the messages from his phone.
The messages’ exact spellings and punctuation are not available because they appeared on a screen visible only to jurors, the judge and attorneys.
The first text between the two, at 4:36 a.m. July 18, said: “Hey it’s Alicia.”
A message from his cell phone answered: “Good morning beautiful” and later, “Wake up, sleeping beauty.”
That day after the party, the two phones exchanged dozens of texts. A message from his phone said she was a “great girl” who had everything going for her.
When a text from his phone called her “Miss Shy,” she responded, “I’m not shy.”
Another text asked for a picture of her to be sent electronically. “Damn, I like,” said an answer from his phone, apparently after an image was received.
By noon, his phone sent the message: “What you doing, hot stuff?”
Other texts from his phone asked what she thought of him — if she thought he was “weird” — and said he would like to get to know her, that it is “cool” that a “girl like you would want to have anything to do with me.”
When she sent a message saying, “Why?” his phone answered, “ ’cause you’re hot.”
By about 5 p.m. that same day, she sent: “How old are you?”
“Does it matter?” a text from his phone answered, followed by, “Send me a pic(ture). I erased it by accident.”
Around 6 p.m., a message from his phone said, “I’m 25. Is that good or bad?” He was 36 at the time.
At 6:04: “Am I too old for you?” At 6:06 from her: “I don’t even know you. When are we gonna party?”
At about the same time from his phone: “When do you want to, and are you going to be my date?”
Later from her: “We are just friends.” From his: “Sorry.” And the messages went on and on.
Two days later, on July 20, a text from his phone said to her: “Are you mad at me, hot stuff?” quickly followed by another saying that she hadn’t called him and “I was kind of missing you.”
A couple hours later, a text from his phone complained that it took two hours to get a response from her, after a text from his phone saying, “You take care and be careful, and I’ll leave you alone.”
Other texts asked where she worked and whether he could pick her up that night and maybe they could get something to eat and drink.
The night Alicia died
By July 21, it seemed that Longoria’s girlfriend, Eva Brown — the woman who brought him to Great Bend after he left prison in Texas — had discovered the texts. Records showed texts from Brown’s phone to Alicia, asking who Alicia was, how old she was and “What are you to Adam (Longoria)?” and a message to Alicia telling her not to talk to him again and referring to Longoria as Brown’s husband.
When a text from Alicia to Longoria’s phone asked whether he was dating Brown, a text from his phone responded, “No, ex.” When Alicia asked whether Brown was his wife, his phone sent, “She is not my wife!”
Alicia received another message saying he had a new cell phone and asked her to “send me a pic” to the new phone.
On July 31, a text from her asked whether he could do her a favor and take her somewhere. Later, he got a message saying she didn’t need a ride, but texts from his phone kept pressing for something: “I want my pic!”
Some days, no exchanges were recorded. The last string of texts occurred the night of Aug. 21, what authorities think was the last night of Alicia’s life.
At 9:46 p.m. from his phone: “Why you mad at me?” 9:56: “I’m not.”
9:57 from his phone: “Do you want to party?” 10 p.m. from her phone: “When?” “Tonight … I can pick you up. We can go out and party, and we will have a good time.”
She said she was on her way home, from the shopping trip to Wichita. A text from his phone said there would be plenty to drink, including five cases of beer, a house and lots of people.
Around the same time, she was receiving texts from others, including her girlfriends, one of whom she apparently invited to the party she thought she was going to.
10: 49 from Alicia to Longoria’s phone: “I’m ready.”
10:57 from Longoria’s phone: “What’s the address?” and she sent it back.
10:59 from his phone: “Be there in three minutes.”
11:01 from his phone: “I’m here.” His phone signal went off, possibly from the phone being shut off.
At 11:06 Alicia said in answer to a girlfriend’s text that she was bringing a notebook to the first day of school. The last signal from Alicia’s phone came at 11:40.
Minutes after midnight, Alicia’s curfew, her mother started sending her texts, asking where she was.
At 12:57 a.m. on Aug 22, a text from Longoria’s phone to Alicia’s phone said: “There isn’t going to be a party.”
On Aug. 24, workers at an asphalt plant west of Great Bend found Alicia’s badly burned body in a secluded area between piles of road-building material. Longoria had just started working at the plant.
Earlier Wednesday, before the testimony turned to text messages, attorneys sparred over DNA detected in Alicia’s mouth and on the driver’s floor mat of the SUV that Longoria drove the night she disappeared.
Defense attorney Tim Frieden noted that DNA from an unknown male, found in Alicia’s mouth, excluded Longoria as the source of the DNA. Frieden drew testimony from KBI forensic scientist James Newman that it’s possible that the DNA in her mouth came from a sexual assault from another man shortly before her killing.
O’Connor, one of the prosecutors, focused on semen found on the floor mat that contained a mix of Longoria’s DNA and Alicia’s DNA. Under O’Connor’s questioning, Newman said it was possible that the stain got there from Longoria ejaculating in her mouth and her spitting it onto the floor mat moments before he killed her.
Regarding the unknown male DNA in her mouth, it’s possible it ended up there by contamination during the processing and examination of the body or by innocent means, such as her mouth touching a straw that someone used, Newman testified.
The DNA in her mouth could have been there before Longoria might have ejaculated, Newman said.