With a cellphone text that read “wake up sleeping beauty,” a Kansas man whom prosecutors say was obsessed with a 14-year-old cheerleader launched a torrent of messages in July 2010 that ended after the girl’s death the following month, according to evidence at his trial Wednesday.
Several texts were projected onto a courtroom screen during the fifth day of testimony in the capital murder trial of Adam Longoria. The 38-year-old man from Great Bend is accused in the death of Alicia DeBolt, whose charred body was found at the asphalt plant where Longoria worked.
Texting between Longoria and DeBolt began on July 18, 2010, the morning after they met at a party. It ended the night the teen disappeared.
Prosecutors contend that from 10:32 a.m. to 7:48 p.m. that first day, 55 text messages were exchanged between Longoria and the girl.
Text messages from phones linked to Longoria, DeBolt, and Longoria’s former girlfriend Eva Brown were combined and arranged on a spreadsheet. They were shown on a screen so the jury could read for themselves, but they were also read aloud by Stephanie Smith, an intelligence analyst with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
Defense attorney Tim Frieden from the Kansas Death Penalty Defense Unit objected that the spreadsheet was “not an accurate representation of the facts,” but Barton County District Judge Hannelore Kitts allowed the evidence after Smith testified the texts were accurate, but presented in a format that was easier to follow than if texts from each phone were presented separately.
Smith also said that while it is possible to retrieve text messages and to determine what phone they came from, there is no way to know what person was using the phone and sending the messages. The state alleges the messages that follow came from the persons whose names are used in the account.
In them, Longoria called the teen “miss shy” and “hot stuff,” and told her that he didn’t think a girl like her would want anything to do with him “because you are hot and awesome and I don’t see myself in your league.” He also said he wanted to spend time with her, texting: “r u going 2 b my date?”
Alicia texted back that she only wanted to be friends. At his request, she sent him a picture of herself. “Damn I like,” he texts back. When she asked his age, the then 36-year-old man told her he was 25.
Two days later, Longoria again began texting Alicia: “R u mad at me hot stuff?” Over the next six hours, they exchanged 26 messages, with Longoria asking her out and offering to pick her up.
Prosecutors said Longoria’s live-in girlfriend at the time, Brown, found out what was happening. She took her phone back from Longoria, who got a new phone with a different number. Brown told Alicia she was Longoria’s wife and told her to stay away from him.
Perhaps the most gripping texts came on the night that Alicia disappeared. An hour before she left her house, the girl received a text that prosecutors said was from Longoria that read: “I can pick up and we can go out and party we will have fun.”
About 20 minutes later, another text message said: “I have 5 bottles and 5 cases of beer an 1 house and there will be lots of people.” Alicia replied, “K.”
A few minutes later she texted him saying she was ready and gave him her home address. At 10:59 p.m., Longoria texted her again: “B there in 3 mins.”
A minute later, came the reply: “I’m here.”
The last signal picked up from Alicia’s phone was at 11:40 p.m. At 12:57 a.m., Longoria texted the girl’s phone one last time: “There isn’t going 2 b a party never mind.”
DNA and other testimony
Also on Wednesday, prosecutors showed jurors a video clip of Longoria’s arrest. He was driving a vehicle reported stolen from the asphalt plant where the girl’s body had been found days earlier. Former Longoria neighbor Coletta Mogbo testified he rode to the asphalt plant in her vehicle, driven by a friend because Mogbo had lost her license, and they left him near a row of Venture vehicles.
In the morning, defense attorney Jeffrey Wicks cross examined KBI forensic scientist James Newman, who testified on Tuesday about samples of DNA.
Newman said no blood or accelerants were found in the 2002 Ford Escape driven by Longoria, although it contained a stain of his semen mixed with DeBolt’s DNA, possibly from her saliva.
“Could the DNA from the floor mat come from a previous sexual encounter?” Wicks asked. Newman said it could have. He also agreed that while the DNA of Longoria and DeBolt was mixed, they could have been left at two different times.
The attorneys for both sides agreed that an oral swab from Alicia DeBolt’s mouth during her autopsy contained the DNA of a male who is not Adam Longoria. The sample could have been contaminated accidentally in the lab, but its source is unknown, Newman said, adding it was compared to the DNA of 20 people, including suspects and some of the people involved in the autopsy, but was never identified.
“Could this DNA sample be from a sexual encounter that occurred shortly before Miss DeBolt’s death?” Wicks asked. Newman said it could.
He said it could also have come from her kissing someone, or just sharing a soda. “It wouldn’t have lasted much more than six hours in a living mouth,” he said.