Teen charged in killing of 8-year-old girl appears in court - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Teen charged in killing of 8-year-old girl appears in court

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This undated photo provided by the Santa Cruz Police Department shows missing Madyson "Maddy" Middleton, from Santa Cruz, Calif. (Courtesy of Santa Cruz Police Department via AP) This undated photo provided by the Santa Cruz Police Department shows missing Madyson "Maddy" Middleton, from Santa Cruz, Calif. (Courtesy of Santa Cruz Police Department via AP)
Adrian Jerry Gonzalez, center, is flanked by public defender Larry Biggam and attorney Leila Sayar as they enter the courtroom Thursday, July 30, 2015 where his arraignment was delayed in Santa Cruz, Calif. Adrian Jerry Gonzalez, center, is flanked by public defender Larry Biggam and attorney Leila Sayar as they enter the courtroom Thursday, July 30, 2015 where his arraignment was delayed in Santa Cruz, Calif.
Adrian Jerry Gonzalez (left) is charged with murder, kidnapping and rape in the death of 8-year-old Madyson Middleton, in an artists' complex in the California beach town. Adrian Jerry Gonzalez (left) is charged with murder, kidnapping and rape in the death of 8-year-old Madyson Middleton, in an artists' complex in the California beach town.

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) — A 15-year-old boy charged with murder, kidnapping and rape in the death of an 8-year-old neighbor at an artists' complex in a California beach town appeared in court briefly Thursday and was appointed a lawyer.

Adrian Jerry Gonzalez wore a green t-shirt and khaki pants. His hands were shackled in front of him.

He did not enter a plea, and his arraignment was postponed until Sept. 21. District Attorney spokesman Paul Mangasarian said the delay likely was aimed at giving the defense more time to build a case.

Larry Biggam of the Santa Cruz public defender's office was appointed as the teen's lawyer. Biggam could not be reached immediately for comment.

Police say Gonzalez lured Madyson Middleton into his family's apartment from a courtyard where she was riding her scooter Sunday. Once inside, he tied her up, sexually assaulted and killed her, according a charging document.

Gonzalez remains in custody at the Santa Cruz County juvenile detention center, where he has been held since the girl's body was found in a recycling bin Monday evening.

"Unfortunately, the search for Maddy ended in the worst way possible," Santa Cruz District Attorney Jeffrey Rosell said.

He said Gonzalez has been charged as an adult and added that in his two decades in Santa Cruz, he's never seen a 15-year-old charged with murder.

The charges could send Gonzalez to prison for life.

Neighbors at the Tannery Arts Center where both the suspect and Madyson lived were stunned by the death and arrest. The center is a public-private nonprofit that includes 100 affordable loft apartments for artists and their families. About 250 people live in the complex, including about 50 children.

"It's a great community because it's a bit unusual," said Geoffrey Nelson, a photographer and Tannery resident. "You share the joys of people, their children growing up. Their art shows, their recitals. But you also share the sorrows."

Nelson said he's known Gonzalez for several years and described him as shy, though they often chatted. "He was a yo-yo-expert, so he was oftentimes showing you tricks," Nelson said.

Residents were heartbroken to learn he is suspected in the killing, he said.

"It wasn't somebody from the outside," Nelson said. "It was somebody we all knew. It was someone we all knew and liked."

Setorro Garcia, a Tannery resident who knew both the victim and suspect, said Gonzalez was curious about the investigation.

"He kept asking, 'Any updates?'" Garcia said.

Another resident, Kirby Scudder, described Madyson as a typical 8-year-old, alternately shy and gregarious.

"She was very smart, and I thought she was going to be an engineer," he said. "She had a great sense of humor."

Madyson was headed for fourth grade in the fall.

She had a little black dog named Lucy. On Wednesday, tearful children at the Tannery placed pictures and notes on a growing memorial overflowing with bouquets, stuffed animals, balloons and candles.

"It was nice how you were so perky," wrote one.

"We all miss you," wrote another, next to a picture of the slain girl with wings and a halo.

___

Associated Press writers Kristin J. Bender and Julia Horowitz in San Francisco contributed to this report.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.

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