Teen accused of murdering 8-year-old Maddy Middleton pleads not guilty

SANTA CRUZ (KRON) — The teen accused in the murder of 8-year-old Maddy Middleton pleaded not guilty to all charges in Santa Cruz County Courthouse on Monday.

Maddy’s alleged killer, Adrian Gonzales, 15, entered a not guilty plea to the felony charges of murder, kidnapping to commit another crime, sexual penetration by a foreign object, two counts of forcible lewd acts on a child and forcible rape on a child under 14 years old.

The charges also include allegations of murder by lying in wait, causing great bodily injury and other sex crimes. Gonzalez has been charged as an adult in the case, prosecutors said.

Gonzalez allegedly killed Maddy on July 26 at the Tannery Arts Center’s housing complex at 1030 River St., where they both lived with their families, police said. Her body was found the next day in a large recycling bin in a first-floor parking garage at the complex, according to police.

Middleton’s father, Michel Middleton, asked the community to help him keep the focus on Maddy, and not on the man police said murdered her.

He held a rally at the courthouse Monday morning with signs and banners remembering Maddy.

People in the community have been showing up at the courthouse steps to show their support.

In his first public comments since Maddy’s death, Michel spoke exclusively with KRON4’s Rob Fladeboe.

“It’s been hard, I lost my little angel,” Middleton said.

Six weeks after his daughter Maddy was murdered, her father Michel is still coming to terms with his loss.

Middleton is not planning on attending the hearing, where Gonzales is expected to enter a plea to charges of murder, kidnapping and sexual assault. Hate, he said, won’t bring Maddy back, but he wants justice for her just the same.

Middleton applauded the well-attended memorial for his daughter last month, but feels too much attention is now focused on Gonzales, when it ought to be on Maddy and her memory.

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