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Man pleads guilty as juvenile to murder of Santa Cruz girl

California Girl Killed
Posted at 9:02 AM, Apr 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 12:28:17-04

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) — A 21-year-old California man has pleaded guilty under juvenile justice terms to the murder of a neighbor girl in 2015.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel says Adrian Gonzalez entered the plea Tuesday as soon as the case was transferred to juvenile court.

Gonzalez was 15 at the time 8-year-old Madyson Middleton was killed.

Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge John Salazar said he had no choice but to remove the case from the adult court system due to juvenile justice reforms.

In adult court, Gonzalez could have faced two consecutive life prison sentences.

In the juvenile system, Gonzalez will be eligible for release at age 25.