Attorneys of Adam Longoria have filed a motion seeking a change of venue for his capital murder trial.
The motion filed last Tuesday came as no surprise; earlier this month, Barton County residents began receiving questionnaires on their perceptions of the case. This is often a step that precedes a request for change of venue.
Charged with murdering 14-year-old Alicia DeBolt on or about Aug. 20, 2010, Longoria is currently scheduled for a jury trial starting March 26 in Barton County District Court. The motion filed last Tuesday by the Death Penalty Defense Unit in Wichita requests changing the location of the trial "pursuant to K.S.A. 22-2616, the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and Sections Five, Ten and Eighteen of the Kansas Bill of Rights."
The State law cited requires a judge to order that a case be moved to another county, if there is a motion from the defense and the court is satisfied "that there exists in the county where the prosecution is pending so great a prejudice against the defendant that he cannot obtain a fair and impartial trial in that county."
Barton District Judge Hannelore Kitts is presiding over the case. Longoria’s next appearance here is set for 9 a.m. on Feb. 8, when the court will take up pretrial motions.
The Great Bend Tribune’s "record custodian" and Managing Editor Dale Hogg were both subpoenaed to testify at that hearing "on behalf of the defendant in a certain controversy now pending and undetermined in said court where in the State of Kansas is plaintiff and above named defendant."
At the end of December, defense attorneys filed a list of 18 other pending motions that may be taken up on Feb. 8. These include a request for the juvenile records of state witnesses and information on gang affiliations, and motions to suppress various pieces of evidence. Also on the list: "Motion to enjoin the victim’s family and friends from sitting directly before the jury and from showing emotion in the courtroom during the trial"; "Motion to reveal any deal made by the State"; and "Motion for compensation of jurors at current wages and for reimbursement to primary caregivers for day care costs."
Although the State is no longer seeking the death penalty if Longoria is convicted, he is charged with capital murder, which carries a life sentence with no chance of parole.