UPDATE: Tuesday, June 26, 2012
A Great Bend man convicted of murdering a teenage girl will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Barton County Judge Hannelore Kitts sentenced Adam Longoria, 38, to life in prison, without the possibility of parole, in district court Tuesday morning. Longoria was not present in court.
Debolt's mother and sister addressed Judge Kitts before the sentencing.
"The monster killed my baby girl. He not only took my miracle baby, he took part of all of our lives away," said the teen's mother, Tammy DeBolt.
Later a press conference DeBolt's sister, Dawn, responded to Longoria's absence in the court room.
"Today was our day to be able to say, 'This is what what you took away' and he took that away from us," said Dawn. "But we wouldn't expect any less from him because he's not a man. He's not."
A jury convicted Longoria of capital murder in the death of 14-year-old Alicia Debolt. Her burned body was found at an asphalt plant in August of 2010.
Prosecutors said Longoria preyed on the teenager, sending her hundreds of text messages the weeks leading up to her death.
Although he was convicted of capital murder, he was not sentenced to death. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty during trial.
Longoria also received 17 months for vehicle burglary and 7 months for theft. Those terms will be served consecutively to his life
“This crime was a terrible tragedy for the family and community,” Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said. “My thoughts and prayers are with the DeBolt family. I appreciate and commend the work of law enforcement, the prosecution and the court. Justice was served today.”
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Two years ago, the burnt remains of a 14-year-old Great Bend girl were discovered. In April, 38-year-old Adam Longoria was found guilty in that murder.
Today, he will return to the courtroom to learn his fate.
The sentencing does more than determine how long Longoria will be behind bars. It also gives Alicia DeBolt's family an opportunity to face the man accused of killing their loved one.
"They have a chance to vent their feelings, express their outrage, said Wichita attorney Jim Lawing."
After two years of suffering, it's a day of justice for the family of Alicia DeBolt. In the summer of 2010, DeBolt disappeared.
Her body was found three days later, brutally burned at a Great Bend asphalt plant; the same plant where 38-year-old Adam Longoria worked.
But that wasn't the only evidence that linked Longoria to the case.
An outpouring of testimony contributed to the guilty verdict. The jury heard from witnesses for hours, including experts who found Longoria's and DeBolt's DNA mixed on the floor of the car. Other witnesses said they saw DeBolt get into Longoria's car the night she disappeared.
Jurors even heard from Longoria's girlfriend, who said that he smelled of gasoline the night of DeBolt's disappearance.
Longoria was convicted on all counts, including the capital murder of Alicia DeBolt.
Today, Longoria will return to the courtroom to face not only his fate, but also his victim's family, who will have the opportunity to testify.
"They want to be heard, so taking the witness stand, looking at the now-convicted accused and saying, 'This is what you did and this is how it affects me. This is how it hurts,'" Lawing said.
Testifying at a sentencing was a right that was established in 1989. Anyone who has had an adverse impact from a crime being committed has the right to submit a statement.
"The word closure is used," Lawing said. "I don't know if there is ever closure, especially in a murder case, but it gives people some sense of satisfaction that somebody's heard them, that their pain and suffering had been shared and that people understand."
The death penalty is off the table in Longoria's case. A capital murder sentencing would mean life in prison without the possibility of parole.