After Alicia DeBolt disappeared on the night of Aug. 21, 2010, Adam Longoria asked Hugo Hernandez to lie to police and back up his alibi for that night, Hernandez testified Monday.
Prosecutors continue to offer evidence in Longoria’s trial, now entering its second week in Barton County District Court. The 38-year-old Great Bend man is charged with capital murder, for allegedly killing the 14-year-old girl with premeditation after attempting to sexually molest her. The girl’s charred remains were found on Aug. 24, 2010, at a Venture Corp. asphalt plant near Dundee.
Hernandez, who is now 22 years old and going to school in Hays, testified that he met Longoria and DeBolt at a party that summer. “I think it was at his house,” Hernandez said.
The night of Aug. 21, Hernandez and several other people attended a Quinceanera (a traditional 15th birthday party for a Hispanic girl) at Camp Aldrich. He stayed until about 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 22.
Assistant Attorney General Kevin O’Connor asked Hernandez about what happened the following Monday. “Did you have contact with Adam Longoria?”
“Yes sir,” Hernandez said. “He called me to come to his house. ... He came up with a story and asked me for an alibi.” Hernandez said Longoria said his friends had “gotten into a mess,” and if police asked, Hernandez should say he’d seen Longoria at Willie J’s, a club north of Great Bend, around midnight Saturday. Hernandez testified he was not at the bar that night. “He wanted me to lie to law enforcement. He wanted me to say he was at Willie J’s. He said E-man and some others had gotten into trouble.”
The police did talk to Hernandez that week. And although he didn’t tell them about Willie J’s, he also didn’t reveal that Longoria had asked him to lie, he said. “But I called them back that day. I called and I told them Adam Longoria asked me to make up an alibi.”
“You knew Alicia DeBolt was missing?” O’Connor asked. Hernandez said he did. He attributed his earlier hesitation to being 20 years old and scared.
Under cross examination by defense attorney Jeffrey Wicks, Hernandez said he would not disagree with police reports that showed he did not called back that same day, but one day later.
Earlier in the day, the jury heard testimony from Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents, Great Bend police detectives, and employees of Love’s Convenience Store.
KBI Special Investigator Roger Butler talked about collecting evidence from the area where DeBolt’s body was found, including “an orange oil jug from AutoZone,” and a sample of fluid in the jug.
During cross examination, Wicks asked, “You have no idea who put it there or when?” Butler agreed, and also said the decision was made not to test the container for fingerprints.
KBI Special Agent Robert Conde testified that on Aug. 28, Eva Brown, Longoria’s girlfriend at the time, helped the agent find the remnants of a gray T-shirt — the shirt she threw out of a car. GBPD Detective Heather Smith identified more pieces of the shirt, found at the city compost site in a pile of dirt from the street sweeper that had been in the same vicinity.
GBPD Detective Terry Millard testified that he talked to Longoria on Aug. 23, when Alicia DeBolt was still missing. “He told me that he had come to the residence to find — he said, ‘that missing girl.’ He’d heard his vehicle and he were involved. He said he wanted to get that straightened out right now.”
Longoria told Millard he’d spent the afternoon of Saturday, Aug. 21, with three men, Ivan (which he pronounced E-von), E-man and Erick. During testimony, the three were identified at Ivan Ramirez, Emmanuel Ferrel and Erick Herrera. He told Millard he’d gone bowling and then to dinner with Brown, and they got home at 10:30 p.m. He said he went to Willie J’s around 11 p.m., and saw the same three friends there. Millard said he asked Longoria if he knew Alicia DeBolt. “He said, ‘I don’t even know the girl.’”
Detective Smith said Ivan Ramirez was the individual that DeBolt’s mother thought she was meeting when she left the house the night of Aug. 21. Longoria told Smith he had sent a text to Alicia DeBolt the Saturday she disappeared, but it was at the request of Rameriz. “He talked about a party with some friends,” she said.
“He said they talked (via cellphone text messages) about the party. She said she was out of town,” Smith testified. Later DeBolt sent a message, “I’m here.” Smith said the last message exchanged was that there was no party. He also told Smith that he’d been bowling and to The Rack with Eva Brown, and later went to Willie J’s with some friends.
Wicks asked Smith about the discussion she and Longoria had about Ramirez. Smith said she expressed frustration because, “Ivan may have information and he may not tell me.”
On redirect by O’Connor, Smith said that Ramirez did speak with police several times, and always came in when asked.
GBPD Detective Denton Doze testified that on Aug. 26, 2010, he executed a search warrant to collect DNA from Longoria, and on Aug. 31 he went to Love’s at 1221 10th St. to collect a receipt for a $1.32 gas purchase. He’d watched a security video, time-stamped 12:07-12:13 a.m. Aug. 22. On that video, he said, Longoria reached into the trash and removed something. Doze said Longoria was also in the store twice.
A store employee, Jenna Pitchford, testified that Longoria came in around midnight. “He asked me if we had a jug or a container I could put some gas in,” she said. She looked under the counter but didn’t find anything, so he didn’t buy anything.
After more testimony from store employee Stephen Muehleison, store supervisor Mariah Crawford and M.T. Brown, a video forensics expert from the Lawrence Police Department, the gas receipt was admitted as evidence.
Testimony continues at 9 a.m. today.