A muted, but audible, cheer filled the packed Barton County District Court courtroom Friday afternoon.
It rose from the family and friends of slain teenager Alicia DeBolt as verdicts of guilty on all counts against Adam Longoria were read. It took the five-woman, nine-man jury about three hours to convict Longoria.
Longoria stood still, stone-faced and silent as the bailiff read the verdicts one by one. Guilty of capital murder, guilty of criminal sodomy, guilty of aggravated criminal sodomy, guilty of attempted rape, and guilty of vehicular burglary and theft.
Following a pre-sentencing investigation, Longoria will face sentencing at 1 p.m. June 8 in Great Bend. Until then, he may remain in custody in the Barton County Detention Facility or be transported back to Wichita, where he has been incarcerated.
DeBolt disappeared the night of Aug. 21, 2010, and her charred remains were found three days later at an asphalt plant near Dundee. Longoria was tried for murdering her after a sexual assault.
The jurors filed into the courtroom for one last time after the two-week trial. “Has the jury reached a verdict?” Barton County District Judge Hannalore Kitts asked.
The answer was yes. After the reading, the jurors were polled and left the jury box.
Then, the gray suit-clad Longoria was then escorted out as well.
Following his exit, there were tears and hugs. After over one and half years, it was over.
“This has been a long journey, one that we didn’t choose, one that was decided for us when a grown man decided to pursue a 14 year old girl in the summer of 2010,” said Lindy Russell, victim/witness coordinator for the Kansas Attorney General’s Office, reading from a family statement. “This journey tested our faith, it tested our bonds and it tested our strength. In the end, we stand strong as a family knowing that today, there is justice for Alicia.
“Our Alicia was a bright, beautiful burst of energy,” the statement continued. “She loved her family and she loved her friends. She loved all of the things that teenagers love – texting, shopping, cheerleading, and boys. She had a style that was uniquely Alicia.
“She loved to make you laugh. She was a practical joker and was more concerned about making others happy. She was wise beyond her years. Helping others came naturally to her and she was always there when her friends needed her.
“Oh how we miss all of the things about Alicia. We miss her voice, her laugh, and yes, even her messes. We miss walking into her room seeing the piles of clothes she had tried on that weren’t quite right that day.
They also said they will miss all of the things that will not happen for DeBolt – her first day of high school, graduation, college, falling in love, getting married and having children of her own.
“Though she was stolen from us and her life cut far too short, the one thing that can never be taken from all of us who were blessed to know and love her are all the memories we have from the life we all shared with her. And every time we say her name or think of her, a smile will come to our faces and a tear will roll down our cheeks.”
There are lessons the family learned and they wanted to share. “Parents, talk to your kids even when they don’t want to talk to you. Keep communication open and always pay attention to the people they are spending time with. Teenagers, listen to your parents. They are smarter than you think. Be careful of older people who want to be your friend. It may feel good to have the attention but ask yourself, why would someone much older than me not want to spend time with people their own age?”
They also thanked Great Bend Police Department, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Barton County Attorney’s Office and the KAGO.
“As we continue our journey beyond the courtroom, we take Alicia with us. She is in our hearts and in our souls. She will always be present with us.”
Following the family, prosecuting attorney Kevin O’Connor with the attorney general’s office addressed the media.
“We are happy with today’s verdict,” but this is tinged with sadness. “Alicia is never very far from our minds. It doesn’t bring her back but it brought Adam Longoria to justice.”
He thanked the jury for its service, but refrained from elaborating on what the jurors told him about their deliberations.
He also thanked all those involved in the case. “This is a culmination of a team effort. A case is only as good as the evidence collected.”
Capital murder carries a statutory sentence of life without the possibility of parole.