Adam Joseph Longoria, the Great Bend man long eyed as a person of interest in the Alicia DeBolt killing, was charged Tuesday morning with capital murder in connection with the teen’s death. He was also charged in Barton County District Court with criminal sodomy with a child.
During a news conference following the hearing, Kansas Attorney General Steve Six, who is prosecuting the case, said authorities don’t anticipate anyone else being charged in DeBolt’s death.
"Do you understand the charges?" District Judge Hannalore Kitts asked Longoria.
"Yeah," he responded. He was clad in orange-and-white jail garments, his hands shackled, as he addressed the court. When not speaking, he glanced around the room.
The murder count could carry the death penalty and the sodomy charge could carry a sentence of over 20 years.
Six will meet with Longoria’s court-appointed attorney Jeff Wicks on Friday to determine the dates for the suspect’s arraignment and preliminary hearing. Wicks, from Wichita, is with the Death Penalty Defense Unit.
The original intention of the Tuesday proceeding was to address Longoria’s legal representation. Longoria had said he could find his own attorney, but wound up applying for a public defender.
The complaint alleges that on or about Aug. 21 and/or Aug. 22, Longoria killed, with premeditation, DeBolt in the commission of or subsequent to the crime of criminal sodomy. It also alleges during that same time period Longoria engaged in sodomy with a child under 16.
Longoria, 36, had been in custody since an Aug. 30 first appearance for vehicle theft and vehicle burglary for allegedly stealing a Venture Corporation sport-utility vehicle and fleeing town following a search warrant being served at his home the previous week. Bond was set at $150,000, but at Six’s request, was upped to $1.5 million Monday morning.
The high bond is based on Longoria being a potential flight risk with few ties to Great Bend, where he has only lived for a short time, and a long criminal record. "The bond is appropriately set to assure public safety" and make sure Longoria remains in Great Bend pending his next appearance. Before he would be released on bond, however, there would be a hearing first to set restrictions.
But, Six declined to discuss the cause of death or what evidence was used to bring the murder charge. Details, he said, would come out in open court.
As for Longoria being the only person charged in DeBolt’s death, Six said authorities completed the investigation to the point where they were confident they had the right suspect. "We are comfortable with the charge and with the person charged."
However, the AG didn’t rule out someone else being involved in the DeBolt case in some other capacity. "Additional persons are being spoken to."
Six said his office was asked to help with the DeBolt case because of its resources.
He also cautioned people not to put much stake in what they see online. There is a lot of misinformation on the Internet and the social networking sites.
Six was in town over the weekend to visit with DeBolt’s mother Tammy Conrad and the rest of her family. "We’ve been speaking closely with the family," he said. "They are still in shock."
The attorney general also stressed Longoria is presumed innocent.
DeBolt, 14, was last seen alive at about 11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21, leaving for a party. She never came home. Her burned body was found the next Tuesday at an asphalt plant west of Great Bend and positively identified the following Wednesday night.
Longoria was released from prison in Texas in May and is also a suspect in North Carolina where he allegedly called bomb threats into elementary schools.