FREEHOLD – A Monmouth County grand jury has returned a five count indictment charging a Long Branch man with the fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Madison Wells in Long Branch, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Bryan Cordero-Castro, 20, of 4th Avenue in Long Branch, is charged in the indictment handed up Monday with first degree Murder, third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, third degree Attempted Escape and fourth degree Stalking.

On September 8, 2018 at approximately 10:42 p.m., a 911 call was placed reporting a stabbing victim in need of medical attention at a Van Pelt Place residence within the city of Long Branch.  Long Branch officers and EMS were dispatched to the home where they found a 16-year-old female, Madison Wells, on the living room floor with stab wounds to her chest.  She was transported to Monmouth Medical Center where she was pronounced dead at 11:25 pm.

A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Long Branch Police Department determined that Cordero-Castro and Madison began dating in November 2017.  Madison recently ended the relationship resulting in Cordero-Castro texting and calling her numerous times in the 9 hour period leading up to the murder.  Cordero-Castro ultimately located the victim at the Van Pelt Place residence where Madison agreed to go outside and speak to him.  A few minutes after going outside, Madison stumbled back into the house and collapsed on the floor from the stab wounds to her chest.

Cordero-Castro was arrested at his cousin’s residence on Morris Avenue in Long Branch approximately 2 hours after the murder.  Once at The Long Branch Police Department, Cordero-Castro attempted to escape by jumping up and trying to run out of the booking room.  He was quickly stopped by Detective Sergeant Brendan Cahill and Officer Evan Morell, both of the Long Branch Police Department.

If convicted of Murder, Cordero-Castro faces a minimum sentence of 30 years in a New Jersey state prison without parole and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA) requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. He would also be under parole supervision for 5 years following his release from state prison.

If convicted of the third degree charges of Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose and Attempted Escape, Cordero-Castro faces a sentence of three to 5 years in prison on each of those charges.  If convicted of the fourth degree charges of Unlawful Possession of a Weapon and Stalking, Cordero-Castro faces up to 18 months in prison on each charge.

Cordero-Castro has been held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution since his arrest.  He was ordered detained without bail on September 13, 2018 by the Honorable James J. McGann, J.S.C.  Cordero-Castro is scheduled to appear for arraignment before the Honorable Paul X. Escandon, J.S.C. on January 7, 2019.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Tara Wilson and Stephanie Dugan.  Cordero-Castro is represented by Adam J. Weisberg, Esq. of Ocean Twp.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.

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