SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - The admitted killer of eight-year-old Madyson Middleton could be out of juvenile confinement in four years.
There were intense emotions as Madyson Middleton’s mother and father read victim impact statements.
"I feel as though a cannon ball was fired through my body," Laura Jordan said through tears and sniffles.
"I don’t have the solution and I don’t know what justice looks like I just know this can’t happen again," said Michael Middleton.
Tuesday while on-lookers gathered outside, inside Dept. 7, Judge John Salazaar handed down the maximum sentence. Adrian Gonzalez will spend another four years in juvenile detention, following a guilty plea for the murder of Madyson Middleton.
"This is a crime that absolutely rocked our community," said Santa Cruz District Attorney Jeff Roswell.
Gonzalez admitted to the 2015 abduction, torture, rape and murder of eight-year-old Maddy.
But the recently-passed Senate Bill 1391, which is now California law, mandates 14 and 15 year old juveniles cannot have their cases moved to adult criminal court.
"When children, 14-and-15 year old, are housed with adults, they’re more likely to engage in more violent behavior in the future," said Dr. Ellen Kreitzberg, a professor and death penalty expert in the Santa Clara University School of Law.
Opponents of the law, and of Gonzalez remaining in the juvenile court system, say the safety of the community is at stake.
"Nothing short of a life sentence, to keep our society safe. We do not need another child to go through this," said an unidentified woman at a rally outside the courthouse shortly before the sentence was handed down.
Gonzalez addressed the court, saying his goal is to overcome his issues.
"I hope that one day I may earn your forgiveness," he said.
Loved ones say the wound he inflicted will never heal. After 30 minutes, years of legal proceedings ended. But not the pain for family and friends of Madyson Middleton.
"My life was destroyed," said Jordan. Added Maddy’s grandmother, "You are a killer and a rapist. You’ll never walk the earth if we have our way."