The family of slain Great Bend teenager Alicia DeBolt “isn’t worried about anything” as the Kansas Supreme Court prepares to hear an appeal of Adam Longoria, the man convicted of murdering the girl in 2010.
The high court will hear Longoria’s appeal when it convenes next Wednesday in Topeka. Longoria, now 40, was found guilty of DeBolt’s death in April 2012 and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in June of that year, and it is that ruling that he is challenging.
“We had a wonderful team to represent Alicia. They took their time to make sure every i was dotted and every t was crossed before we went to trial,” the family said in a statement released to the Tribune Friday. “These appeals are the reason the death penalty was taken off the table and why the judge didn’t force Longoria to sit in at the sentencing.”
Although the family members said they didn’t understand this at the time, they say they do now. “We have faith that the Supreme Court will see him for what he is; a cold blooded murderer.
“This is just another step forward for us, and a step closer to keeping him right where he belongs,” they said. “We want to thank everyone for continued support, and prayers.”
The teenager disappeared the night of Aug. 21, 2010, just days before she was to start classes at Great Bend High School.
The 14-year-old girl’s charred remains were found three days later at an asphalt plant near Dundee where Longoria had worked. Longoria was also found guilty of criminal sodomy, aggravated criminal sodomy, attempted rape and vehicular burglary and theft in his jury trial.
Although he was convicted of capital murder, the state did not seek the death penalty. Under state sentencing guidelines, Longoria could only be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
As for the appeal, according to the Supreme Court docket, “issues on review are whether defendant’s 6th Amendment right to an impartial jury was violated when the trial court refused to change venue; whether the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury on the lesser included offense of felony murder, in failing to instruct the jury on the lesser included offense of reckless second-degree murder, in admitting a portrait photograph of (Alicia DeBolt) where such photograph was irrelevant to the case, in admitting video of defendant being taken into custody at gunpoint, and in failing to declare a mistrial when juror misconduct made it impossible to proceed with trial; whether defendant’s right to a fair trial was violated by prosecutorial misconduct in closing argument; and whether there was sufficient evidence of capital murder because there was no evidence of the charged sexual conduct.”
According to Kansas Supreme Court Public Information Director Lisa Taylor, the oral arguments are before the entire Supreme Court, which consists of seven justices. It is impossible to predict how soon after oral arguments the court will issue its decision since this depends on many factors, including the complexity of the case and the issues raised.
The Longoria case is the third appeal on the list for Wednesday at the Kansas Judicial Center in downtown Topeka across from the Statehouse. The day opens at 9 a.m.