State v. Longoria

Decision Date06 March 2015
Docket Number108,333.
Citation343 P.3d 1128,301 Kan. 489
PartiesSTATE of Kansas, Appellee, v. Adam J. LONGORIA, Appellant.
CourtKansas Supreme Court

Reid T. Nelson, of Capital Appellate Defender Office, argued the cause and was on the briefs for appellant.

Kristafer R. Ailslieger, deputy solicitor general, argued the cause, and Natalie Chalmers, assistant solicitor general, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, were with him on the briefs for appellee.

Opinion

The opinion of the court was delivered by LUCKERT, J.:

A jury convicted Adam J. Longoria of capital murder, vehicle burglary, and theft. In this direct appeal, Longoria challenges his convictions, raising eight issues: (1) The trial court erred when it denied his motion for change of venue; (2) the trial court erred in failing to instruct on the lesser included offense of felony murder; (3) the trial court erred in failing to instruct on the lesser included offense of reckless second-degree murder; (4) the trial court erred in admitting a before-death photograph of the victim; (5) the trial court erred in admitting a video of Longoria's arrest; (6) the prosecutor committed misconduct during closing arguments that denied Longoria a fair trial; (7) the trial court erred in failing to declare a mistrial due to juror misconduct; and (8) the State failed to present sufficient evidence to convict him of capital murder.

We hold that Longoria fails to establish reversible trial error and that sufficient evidence supports his convictions of capital murder. Therefore, we affirm Longoria's convictions and sentences.

Facts and Procedural Background

In the afternoon of August 24, 2010, Venture Corporation employees discovered the burnt remains of 14–year–old A.D.'s body near Great Bend at an asphalt plant operated by their employer. A.D. had been missing for nearly 3 days, since late night Saturday, August 21, 2010. Forensic evidence suggested A.D.'s body had been at the site for several days. Investigators observed the remnants of unbuttoned shorts, a shirt and bra, and a red ponytail holder on A.D.'s body. These clothes and the soil that surrounded her body tested positive for gasoline. Though fire had charred most of A.D.'s body, it completely consumed her genital and anal area. Yet residue from duct tape remained, leaving a pattern indicating that duct tape had bound A.D.'s legs and covered her mouth and nose. An investigation into A.D.'s murder led to Longoria.

Longoria moved from Texas to Great Bend in May 2010 to live with his internet girlfriend, Eva Brown. Not long after his arrival in Kansas, Longoria threw a birthday party for Brown. The party began around 1 p.m. on July 17, 2010. Around 7 or 8 p.m., a group of younger individuals arrived. The group included A.D. and several of her friends.

Late into the party, 36–year–old Longoria approached A.D., who was sitting next to one of her friends. The friend heard Longoria ask A.D. if she had a boyfriend. A.D. indicated she did but explained that they were broken up at the time. Longoria asked if she would go out with him—he said that if she dated him he would buy her new clothes, a fake ID, and take her out to eat. A.D. appeared disinterested. This did not dissuade Longoria from asking A.D. for her cell phone number, which she gave him.

The party ended between 3:30 and 4 a.m. The record does not disclose whether Longoria and A.D. had other contact during the party. Another of A.D.'s friends testified that sometime after the party, Longoria told him that he had sex with A.D. in his car; the testimony does not pinpoint when the conversation occurred or if Longoria suggested the sex occurred during the party or at some later date.

After the party broke up, Brown's phone—which she allowed Longoria to use because he did not have his own—received a text message: “Hey, this is [A.D.]!!(:” Longoria told Brown that A.D. was a 16–year–old girl from the party and that he gave her Brown's cell phone number to make sure she got home safely. Longoria's relationship with A.D. continued through numerous text messages over the month that preceded her murder. At trial, the State pointed to these text messages as evidence of Longoria's sexual intent. The prosecutor also urged the jurors to consider what the messages did not say, pointing out the lack of bravado or other references about having had sex or wanting to repeat sexual acts. Instead, according to the State's argument, the tone of the flirtatious messages conveyed a desire to develop a sexual relationship.

Hours after A.D.'s initial message, Longoria wrote, “Good morning beautifyl and i got ur text.” Eight minutes later he texted, “Wake up sleeping beauty.” After receiving no response for fourteen minutes, he texted, “Tell me if u get this text.” A.D. then replied, “Yeahh.”

Longoria thanked her for coming to his party, and he asked if he could take her to a movie. “Okayy,” A.D. responded. Longoria proceeded to tell A.D. that she was great and had everything going for her, receiving a [t]hank you,” from A.D. Then Longoria said, “Ur very welcome miss shy.” This provoked an “I'm not shy” from A.D., to which Longoria replied, “In sum ways u r and i like that.” After a few more messages, Longoria asked for a picture. A.D. sent one. And Longoria responded, “Damn I like.” Then he told her that he looked forward to spending some time with her. “Yeahh,” A.D. replied.

Four hours later Longoria asked, “What u doing hot stuff?” When he got no reply he sent the same message 6 minutes later. A.D. said, “Nothing you.” Longoria said he was just thinking of her. “Ohh,” she messaged. He asked if that was good or bad. “Good,” A.D. responded. Then he asked A.D. what she thought of him. She said she did not know him but he seemed nice. Longoria said he tried to be and that he hoped she wanted to get to know him. “I do,” A.D. replied. Longoria texted, “Damn that is kool. Wouldn't think a girl like u would want 2 have anything with me.” When asked why, he explained, “Cause ur hot and awesome and don't see myself ur type or in ur league.” Longoria got no response, and he sent the same message again 7 minutes later.

Still getting no response, Longoria asked, “R u ok cause u never repled 2 my text and I dont want 2 b a pest either?” A.D. said that her sister had her phone, and she asked Longoria's age. He replied, “Does it matter?”; and he asked for another picture. A.D. did not send one. Longoria then told A.D. that he was 25, and he asked if he was too old for her. She said that she did not know him and asked when they would party again. Longoria replied, “When do u want 2 and r u going 2 b my date?” Nine minutes later he asked, “U going 2 give me a reply?” and A.D. responded, We are just friends.”

A.D. then messaged [H]ow about tonight?” and Longoria asked what she wanted to do. A.D. told him, Party.” Longoria asked her to call him, twice; she did not call. Then he asked if he had to pick her up and, [D]o those guys have 2 go?” presumably referring to her friends who had been with her at Brown's party. A.D. replied with, “What?” Longoria asked again if he had to pick her up and if “them guys got to gn.” When A.D. did not respond for 11 minutes, Longoria asked, “R u going 2 reply?” She said yes, and he asked, “Then whats going 2 take place?” A.D. did not respond. About an hour later, Longoria asked, “R we doing anxthing?” Thirteen minutes later, still receiving no response, Longoria texted A.D., “K that's kool and have a god nite.” A.D. replied, “K?”

“R u mad at me hot stuff?” was the next message Longoria sent A.D. a couple of days later, on July 20, 2010. He told A.D. that he missed her; he thought that he was not in her league; he thought that it would be best if he left her alone. She replied that he did not have to do that. So he asked to take her out to eat—he would even buy her a drink. A.D. did not respond. Later that evening, Longoria got his own cell phone, and he sent a text to A.D. giving her the new number.

Around this time, A.D. mentioned Longoria to her mother and her sister. She told them that she met him at a party in July, that he was 25 years old, and that he seemed like a nice guy. Her mother and sister reminded her to be careful.

On July 21, 2010, A.D. received a text message from Brown (from the phone that Longoria had been using), asking who she was and if she was related to Longoria. Apparently, Longoria had described A.D. to Brown as his cousin. When A.D. corrected Brown, describing herself as Longoria's friend, Brown told her “well he aint ur friend no more got that. dnt what 2 here u talk 2 him again.” A.D. then messaged Longoria, asking who was using his old phone. He said a friend had it. Brown, however, told A.D. that she was Longoria's wife. When confronted in a text, Longoria assured A.D. that Brown was not his wife and that A.D. had nothing to worry about. Then he asked her for another picture. A.D. did not reply.

The next day, Longoria texted A.D., asking if she was mad. When A.D. replied “No,” Longoria said, “So then u still love me! Lol send me that pic.” A.D. asked why, and Longoria told her that he had a new phone “but that is kool never mind and have a good day,” to which A.D. responded “you too.” Longoria texted, “Dont know why u trippin on me I havent done anything 2 u but that is kool and ill see u around.” A.D. said, “I'm not.”

The following evening, around 5:30 p.m. on July 23, 2010, Longoria asked A.D. if she wanted to partyhe was thinking about renting a limo. A.D. did not respond, but she received a text from Brown around 10 p.m. asking, “U bn talkn 2 my hubby?” A.D. did not reply. And she received the same message again from Brown at 2:06 a.m. on July 24.

A.D. told her sister about the strange text messages she was receiving from Brown and Longoria: “I don't know who this beep is. She's texting me, telling me to leave her husband alone. I don't even know who she is.” A.D.'s sister took the cell phone from A.D. and sent a message to Brown at 2:09 a.m.—“Okayy listen her[e] chick I...

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3 books & journal articles
  • Thinking Ethics Competence and Diligence on Appeal
    • United States
    • Kansas Bar Association KBA Bar Journal No. 84-5, May 2015
    • Invalid date
    ...1082, 191 P.3d 284, 292 (2008). [5] 298 Kan. 1075, 1084, 319 P.3d 528, 535-36 (2014). [6] The rule was enforced in State v. longoria, 301 Kan. 489, 509, 343 P.3d 1128, 1144 (2015); State v. Mohr, 2015 WL 1124538, at *3 (Kan. App. 2015) (unpublished opinion); State v. Hernandez-Carballo, 201......
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    • United States
    • Kansas Bar Association KBA Bar Journal No. 84-5, May 2015
    • Invalid date
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    • Kansas Bar Association KBA Bar Journal No. 89-4, April 2020
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