Madison Wells was a 16-year-old teenage girl who was found stabbed in the chest in an apartment on Van Pelt Place in Long Branch and died at Monmouth Medical Center, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni. Her ex-boyfriend, Cordero-Castro, 21, was arrested two hours later and initially charged with first-degree murder.
Cordero-Castro is a Guatemalan native who was living in the U.S. illegally after overstaying his visa.
Madison Wells Ended her Relationship with Cordero-Castro leading to the stabbing
Gramiccioni said Wells ended her relationship with Cordero-Castro. He then called and texted her 230 times in a 9-hour period leading up to the stabbing, prosecutors say. Madison agreed to speak with him outside her Van Pelt Place home, where she was stabbed before stumbling back into the house and collapsing on the floor, according to the prosecutor.
After his arrest, Cordero-Castro tried to escape while in custody, authorities have said. He was charged with murder in the death of Madison Wells inside a relative’s home in Long Branch in 2018, but the 22-year-old pleaded guilty on November 22, 2019, to first-degree aggravated manslaughter and third-degree attempted escape.
Cordero-Castro received 30 years for the manslaughter charge, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act,” which requires him to serve 85% of the sentence before becoming eligible for release on parole. He received an additional five years for the escape charge, to be served consecutively.
Madison Wells’ sister Tina Wells told Townsquare Media she is “very, very upset at the justice system” at the sentence. “We are devastated, distraught and angry. We will never get the justice Madison deserved even though no amount of time would have been justifiable for what he did,” Tina Wells said.
She said the plea deal was “another train that hit us in the hearts,” but is not mad at prosecutors or the judge. “I am talking about the way the laws were made that lets these things happen,” Tina Wells said.”How a drug offender will get prison but someone who murders an innocent girl will get to be released at age 50 and still have a life.
Friends described the two as inseparable
Friends of Cordero-Castro and Wells confirmed that the two had been dating for about a year before the teen’s death. One friend described the pair to the Asbury Park Press as being “inseparable.” “They used to hang out every day,” Hafett Barrates, 18, told the newspaper. Barrates added he didn’t know what could have led to the stabbing.
Wells, a Long Branch native, had lived for a time in Florida before moving back to New Jersey in 2014. She was just starting her junior year at Long Branch High School at the time of her death.
Wells was wounded but alive when she was found by Long Branch police officers responding to a report of a stabbing Saturday night. She was taken to Monmouth Medical Center, where she died about an hour later, police said.