Santa Cruz County court last Thursday, new evidence postponed the preliminary hearing of the teenager charged with the kidnapping, murder and rape of 8-year-old Madyson “Maddy” Middleton. Adrian J. Gonzalez’s hearing was pushed from Oct. 29, 2015 to Feb. 29, 2016.
Maddy died on July 26 from positional asphyxiation and stab wounds to the neck, according to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Coroner’s Unit. Fifteen-year-old Gonzalez, who lived two flights above Maddy at the Tannery Arts Center, has been charged as an adult and pled not guilty to the felonies on Sept. 21.
Last week’s hearing turned into a brief court appearance where public defenders Leila Sayer and Larry Biggam introduced evidence and asked Judge Timothy Volkmann for more examination time. The evidence was undisclosed to the public. Volkmann agreed to the request and pushed the date of Gonzalez’s hearing to February. When court adjourned, Biggam spoke to press about the reasons for the deferment.
“We are gathering local school records, medical records, interviewing witnesses at the Tannery and throughout the county in efforts to the furthest extent possible get the backstory,” Biggam said. “There’s a lot of material and a lot of work to be done. But, throughout the process we remain mindful of the tragic loss suffered by Maddy Middleton’s mother and father.”
District Attorney Jeff Rosell was aware of the evidence but unable to discuss the details with press. Gonzalez has been charged as an adult because California state Proposition 21 requires youth 14 years or older charged with “committing certain types of murder or a serious sex offense generally would no longer be eligible for juvenile court and would have to be tried in adult court.”
“In terms of decision-making, obviously you need to go through a different analysis,” Rosell said. “If someone’s an adult, you charge them as an adult. There was an analysis that took place, we considered all the factors that we are supposed to consider and we did that so in that way it’s different.”
Gonzalez will be held in Juvenile Hall until his next court date. He faces life in prison if found guilty of the felonies.