By Anne Meyer
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
6:47 PM CDT, June 26, 2012
(GREAT BEND, Kan.)
The family of a murdered Great Bend teenager calls the man convicted in her death a "coward". That's because Adam Longoria did not appear in court Tuesday, but that didn't stop a judge from handing him a sentence of life without parole
Longoria was convicted of the 2010 capital murder of 14-year-old Alicia DeBolt. After Longoria's sentencing, DeBolt's family had a message for the convicted killer.
"He's too big of a coward to face us," said Alicia's sister Dawn DeBolt. "I hope everybody can see he obviously committed this crime."
His seat sat empty, but that didn't stop the family or the State from asking the judge to sentence Longoria to life in prison for the rape and murder of DeBolt.
"We have had to put up with his antics throughout the course of this case, we have protected his rights throughout the course of this case, and i think its finally time to move on and talk about Alicia DeBolt," said State's Attorney Kevin O'Connor
That's what Alicia's family wants as well.
"I'm glad its over, I was tired of seeing that man a long time ago," said Alicia's mother Tammy Conrad. "I hope i never have to see that man again."
The family encouraged parents to keep an eye on their kids, to prevent any more tragedies like this one.
"Getting in one vehicle and her life was gone, one second and there was no turning back," said Dawn Debolt. "That's what people need to understand, one wrong move and your done and you can't turn back time."
FactFinder 12 explains why Longoria wasn't in court for sentencing.
Under Kansas law, defendants have the right to be present at sentencing, but Longoria waived that right, deciding instead to stay in jail. It's a rare move and the State objected, but the judge determined it is allowed.
In 1884 the U.S. Supreme Court deemed it essential that a person charged with a felony has the right to be present at every stage of a trial. The few exceptions include a defendant voluntarily sitting out after a trial has started or defendants becoming so disruptive they must be removed from court.
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