Stephen Ellison

Teen Accused of Raping, Killing Santa Cruz Girl to Be Tried as Adult: Ruling

The teen accused of raping and killing an 8-year-old Santa Cruz girl will be tried as an adult, a Santa Cruz County judge ruled Tuesday.

Adrian Gonzalez is charged with raping and killing Maddy Middleton in July 2015.

Maddy's family, who sat through two months of agonizing and stressful testimony, agreed that Gonzalez should be tried as an adult.

During Tuesday's hearing, the prosecution painted Gonzalez as a cold, calculating killer. Gonzalez's confession to police was read during the hearing. In it, he said he lured Maddy into his apartment with ice cream before raping and killing her.

The defense portrayed Gonzalez as socially awkward and suicidal. Attorneys said he has autism and argued he can be rehabilitated.

Maddy's family said if Gonzalez is released, they believe he would kill again.

"I feel very bad for the jury who is going to have to look at all those awful photos of what he did to my daughter," said Laura Jordan, Maddy's mother. "We were spared the photos this time. We heard the details. The jury is going to have to see it all. And you can't un-see things."

Gonzalez's defense team is going to appeal Tuesday's decision, saying the judge made the ruling under pressure from the community.

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