Santa Cruz teen accused in murder of 8-year-old Madyson Middleton appears in court

A teenager accused of raping and killing an 8-year old girl made his first appearance in Santa Cruz county where he's being tried as an adult.

Adrian "AJ" Gonzalez did not enter a plea. His arraignment was continued until February 20th.

His public defender asked for more time to go over court transcripts.

Gonzalez was 15 when he was arrested two-years ago on suspicion of luring 8-year-old Madyson Middleton to his mother's apartment, where he's accused of raping, then stabbing her to death.

Her body was found in a recycling bin nearby.

Police zeroed in on Gonzalez as the suspect in the case and arrested him two years ago. Since then there have been lengthy court proceedings to determine if he would be tried as an adult or a minor.

Voters in 2016 approved Proposition 57 which made the courts responsible for deciding which juvenile cases can be transferred to adult court.

After a lengthy hearing the courts ruled that Gonzalez will be tried as an adult.

Gonzalez has reportedly made a lengthy statement to investigators, confessing to the crimes.

If convicted Gonzalez could spend the rest of his life in prison.