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Oct 23, 2020

Long Branch Man Sentenced to 35 Years for Fatally Stabbing 16-Year-Old

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The ex-boyfriend of 16-year-old Madison Wells was sentenced to 35 years in prison for fatally stabbing her in Long Branch and trying to escape from police custody, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Bryan Cordero-Castro, 22, of 4th Avenue in Long Branch, pleaded guilty on Nov. 22, 2019 to first degree aggravated manslaughter and third degree attempted escape in connection with the death of Wells. On Sept. 8, 2018, at approximately 10:42 pm, 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 police officers and EMS were dispatched to the home where they found 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 Wells began dating in November 2017. Wells had recently ended the relationship. In the nine-hour period leading up to the murder, Cordero-Castro texted and called her in excess of 230 times. Earlier in the day, Cordero-Castro went to the Van Pelt Place home of a family member of Wells’ looking for her. When he did not find her there, he continued to call and text her.

He ultimately went back to the Van Pelt Place residence where Wells agreed to go outside and speak to him. A few minutes after going outside, Wells 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 two 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.

On Friday, Oct. 23, the Honorable Marc C. Lemieux, J.S.C. sentenced Cordero-Castro to 30 years in prison for aggravated manslaughter, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act,” requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. Cordero-Castro received an additional five years in prison, consecutive to the aggravated manslaughter, on the escape charge.

The case was handled by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Tara Wilson and Stephanie Dugan.

Cordero-Castro is represented by Adam Mitchell, Esq. of Freehold.