Suspect in girl’s homicide back in court

(Jerry Christensen (left) and Ted Fairbanks, defense attorneys for Adrian Gonzalez, field media questions outside of Superior Court Monday regarding moving an arraignment date up to May in a case that charges Gonzalez, 17, with murdering Madyson Middleton, 8, in July 2015 outside her home at the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz. Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian.)

SANTA CRUZ — The young man accused of killing Madyson Middleton, 8, at the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz in 2015, Adrian Jerry Gonzalez, made an appearance in Superior Court Monday in Santa Cruz.

The brief appearance in Superior Courtroom 3 with Judge Timothy Volkmann gave defense attorneys Ted Fairbanks and Jerry Christensen time to ask that a new arraignment date of May 14 be set to allow time for electronic filing requirements to be accepted by the court.

“The appellate courts has changed its requirements for filing — it has moved to an electronic filing instead of a paper filing the way it has been throughout history,” Fairbanks said outside of court Monday. “The technological requirements for these filings are extremely exacting. To get everything into the correct format to get the court to accept it is going to take perhaps several hundred man hours. Due process requires that this case be prepared and submitted to the appellate court in its entirety so they can receive our petition.”

Fairbanks went on to explain that the defense is exploring “errors of law and of fact” in the case.

Gonzalez, who was 15 at the time of the crime, lived at the same complex where Maddy lived. He faces murder, kidnapping and several sexual assault charges, with special circumstances of lying in wait.

Gonzalez, 15, was snared by police shortly after Maddy’s disappearance after he allegedly began grilling police and poking into their investigation with probing questions. Police eventually turned the spotlight on Gonzalez and, according to court testimony, he caved in and confessed to the murder.

It was ruled in court in 2017 that Gonzalez would be tried as an adult.

District Attorney Jeffrey S. Rosell said outside of court Monday, “Today what took place is they asked for a continuance of six weeks so that they can perfect and file their writ, which we have confidence, just like the court found, that the defendant will be tried as an adult. The court made an excellent record of it. The facts we think are overwhelmingly in favor of it.”

At one point during the court appearance Monday, an angry woman, later identified as Sheila Snyder, broke into a verbal outburst and used a profanity to describe Gonzalez. Volkmann reacted strongly and ejected Snyder from the court and forbid her from returning.

When asked about the outburst, Rosell said, “I understand that emotions run high for people who have had family members that are murdered. It’s not something that any of us really would like to take place in court.”

If found guilty, Gonzalez faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.


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