Henry K. Lee and Jenna Lyons, SFGate, July 30, 2015
The 15-year-old boy accused of sexually assaulting and strangling 8-year-old Madyson “Maddy” Middleton in his family’s Santa Cruz apartment–after allegedly luring her there with promises of ice cream–was charged Wednesday as an adult with special-circumstances murder.
Adrian Jerry Gonzalez is scheduled to appear Thursday in Santa Cruz County Superior Court in the girl’s killing Sunday. If convicted, he could face up to life in prison.
Prosecutors have charged Gonzalez with murder and the special circumstances of lying in wait, murder in the course of forcible rape, kidnapping and lewd or lascivious acts with a child, along with separate charges of sexual penetration by a foreign object, two counts of forcible lewd act with a child and forcible rape of a child.
Although Gonzalez is being charged as an adult, the fact that he is a juvenile exempts him from the death penalty, authorities said.
At a news conference, District Attorney Jeff Rosell declined to discuss the details leading up to Madyson’s slaying. Rosell also would not say whether Gonzalez had any criminal history.
But court documents outline a chilling scenario: Madyson was tied up or bound during the attack. A source close to the investigation told The Chronicle that the teenager lured the girl to his apartment by offering her some ice cream and that he attacked her from behind as she was serving herself.
As prosecutors prepared to build their case against Gonzalez, a picture of the defendant emerged on social media. Gonzalez, who acquaintances say is adept at the yo-yo, has an Instagram account with the handle @awkwardyoyoer. Pictures showed him standing outside the apartment complex and performing yo-yo tricks.
A video posted on what is believed to be his Instagram account on Monday, the same day Madyson’s body was found, showed someone playing the Tears for Fears song “Mad World” on the piano. The caption quoted from its lyrics: “The Dreams in which I’m Dying are the Best I’ve ever had.”
The source said the boy lured Madyson to his third-floor apartment at the Tannery Arts Center at 1050 River St. on Sunday afternoon with promises of ice cream, then subdued her from behind, sexually assaulted her and strangled her before dumping her body in a recycling bin in a first-floor garage of the complex.
The boy was caught on surveillance video dumping the body at the bin and then twice visiting the spot after officers arrived to look for Madyson, the source said. The boy repeatedly asked police if they were making any progress in the case, the source said.
Madyson was sexually assaulted, strangled and also suffered trauma to the head, the source said.
As for a motive, the boy told police that he had been considering suicide and that he had wanted to see how people would react by killing the girl, the source said.