At least two Barton County residents have received telephone calls this week from someone identifying themselves as being with Pittsburg State University asking questions about, among other crimes, the Alicia DeBolt murder and the man set to stand trial in the case, Adam Longoria. However, officials at PSU said they have no record of anyone at the college conducting such an inquiry. A Barton County resident had also e-mailed PSU asking about the questionnaire.
A motion hearing is set for 9 a.m. Feb. 8 in Barton County District Court, and multiple sources indicated to the Great Bend Tribune that Longoria’s defense team, the Kansas Death Penalty Defense Unit, may seek a change of venue. It is common in such instances that a survey be done to gauge public sentiment, said Ron Keefover, information officer for the Kansas Judicial Center. Keefover had no knowledge of the survey or current actions by the defense.
Although no one has gone on record confirming a motion to move the trial to different location is in the works, the Tribune’s record custodian and Managing Editor Dale Hogg were both subpoenaed Thursday to testify at the upcoming 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.”
Due to a gag order, defense attorney Jeff Wicks with the Wichita office of the Death Penalty Defense Unit, could not discuss the case or his intentions.
Longoria is the Great Bend man accused of the August 2010 murder of 14-year-old Alicia DeBolt. He is charged with capital murder, however the Kansas Attorney General’s Office, which is handling the prosecution, is not seeking the death penalty. He is still being defended by the Death Penalty Defense Unit.
DeBolt was last seen getting into a dark colored SUV at 11 p.m. on the night of Aug. 21, 2010, and a missing person report was filed Aug. 22. Her burned body was discovered on Aug. 23, 2010 by employees at the Venture Corporation asphalt plant near Dundee.
Late Thursday night following the Aug. 24 discovery of the DeBolt’s body, law enforcement authorities served a search warrant on Longoria’s home. Early the following morning, it is alleged that Longoria stole a Venture vehicle and fled town.
Kansas Highway Patrol troopers apprehended him hours later northeast of Ellsworth on Interstate 70.
He was arrested and charged with the theft Aug. 30. Authorities brought the murder charges Sept. 7.
The trial is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Monday, March 26, also in Great Bend. Ten days are being set aside for the proceedings and Barton County District Judge Hannelore Kitts will preside.