Kansas man gets life term in cheerleader's murder

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GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man who killed a 14-year-old cheerleader and burned her body at the asphalt plant where he worked was sentenced Tuesday to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Adam Longoria, 38, was formally sentenced to life imprisonment without the chance of parole for the murder of Alicia DeBolt.

She was last seen leaving her home in Great Bend for a party just before midnight on Aug. 21, 2010. Text messages prosecutors showed jurors during the trial showed Longoria picked Alicia up that night. He had started pursuing the girl after meeting her at a party the month before. Her family reported her missing the next day, and her body was found three days later at the Venture Corp. plant where Longoria worked.

"She was a little girl that was manipulated and abused and murdered by a man who knows better," prosecutor Kevin O'Connor said at the sentencing.

Barton County Judge Hannelore Kitts had little leeway in deciding Longoria's punishment because a capital murder conviction in Kansas carries a mandatory sentence of at least life without parole. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty.

Longoria did not attend the sentencing.

"He is too big of a coward to face us today," Dawn DeBolt, the victim's stepsister, told the court.

Alicia's mother, Tamara Conrad, recounted how she had once been told she could never bear any children and how she helped her husband raise his children from a previous marriage instead. But at age 32, she unexpectedly found herself pregnant. Alicia was her "miracle baby."

"When the monster killed my baby girl, he didn't just kill my miracle baby," said Conrad, wearing a bright yellow t-shirt emblazoned with the words "Alicia's Mamasita." She said Alicia brought joy and happiness to the entire family.

But she told the court that she would do what Alicia would want her to do: smile, live, love, laugh and go on with life.

Longoria also was sentenced to 17 months for vehicle burglary and 7 months for theft. Those sentences will be served consecutively to, or following, the life sentence.

"It may not make a lot of difference, but it makes a difference to the family and the state of Kansas," O'Connor said of the consecutive sentences. "It may be good that Mr. Longoria is not present here because we have had to put up with his antics throughout the course of this case. ... I think it is time to move on and talk about Alicia DeBolt. The state of Kansas is tired of Mr. Longoria."

Before his conviction in April, Longoria sent several media outlets letters offering interviews after the trial in return for them sending him money for his inmate prison account. He also asked one newspaper for photos taken of him during the trial. No one took him up on it. During the court proceedings, Longoria would at times grin broadly at the victim's family members, who were seated in the gallery.

His defense attorney, Val Wachtel, objected to the consecutive sentences.

"As much as we might want to punish Longoria when he is dead, the fact is he will be dead and cannot serve those sentences and it doesn't make any sense," Wachtel said.

The judge also ordered that Longoria pay more than $7,600 for restitution and other costs.

The defense said it would appeal.

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