Crime & Courts

Longoria murder trial enters final stage in Great Bend

The stage is set today for the final chapter in Adam Longoria’s capital murder trial.

This morning, the jury is scheduled to hear closing arguments and begin its deliberations on whether he is guilty in the August 2010 killing of 14-year-old Alicia DeBolt.

Judge Hannelore Kitts adjourned the trial more than three hours early Thursday afternoon after prosecutors and defense lawyers rested their cases. Defense lawyers didn’t call Longoria to testify, but they drew testimony from eight people Thursday to try to show that someone else committed the crime.

A friend of Alicia’s testified that Alicia told her by cellphone that she was getting into a vehicle with a man named Ivan around the time she disappeared. Prosecutors have shown evidence that Alicia thought she was going to a party with a number of people, including Longoria and a man named Ivan. The witness said she could hear what sounded like a vehicle door closing during her conversation with Alicia.

Alicia, who was about to enter her freshman year of high school at Great Bend High, had met Longoria, then 36, at a party a little more than a month before she disappeared. Prosecutors contend that text messages show he became obsessed with her and kept trying to take her out.

The friend testified that Alicia was supposed to pick her up at a convenience store shortly after their phone conversation to go to a party. But Alicia never showed up, the friend testified.

The testimony about the phone conversation between Alicia and her friend followed testimony brought by the prosecution Wednesday showing that text messages from Longoria’s phone to Alicia’s had him picking her up from her house at the time she was last seen.

Part of the defense strategy is to raise the idea that other vehicles, not the one Longoria was driving the night Alicia disappeared, were involved in her disappearance or killing.

One witness testified that about 31/2 hours after Alicia was last seen getting into an SUV outside her house, the witness saw three vehicles exit a county road that leads to the asphalt plant. Alicia’s badly burned body was found at the plant – where Longoria had worked – three days after she disappeared.

Janet Worden testified that she had to swerve to miss one of the vehicles coming from the county road onto the highway she traveled.

Prosecutors noted there also is a house and river accessible from the county road, and that people using the road wouldn’t necessarily be coming from the plant where the body was found.

Longoria, now 38, would face life in prison without parole if convicted of capital murder, a charge that can bring the death penalty. Prosecutors chose not to pursue the death penalty in his case, and Alicia’s family has publicly supported that decision.

Related stories from Wichita Eagle