LONG BRANCH — Bryan Cordero-Castro, who has admitted to stabbing his 16-year-old girlfriend to death in September of 2018, is expected to serve 35 years in prison after striking a plea deal with prosecutors.

Family members say they're frustrated by and hurt with the deal, which downgraded a murder charge to manslaughter, and told Townsquare Media they don't expect to ever get justice.

Madison Wells, 16, 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. Cordero-Castro, 21, was arrested two hours later and initially charged with first-degree murder.

He pleaded guilty Friday to first degree aggravated manslaughter and third-degree attempted escape.

Bryan Cordero-Castro
Bryan Cordero-Castro (Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office)

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, prosecutor's say.

Madison who 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.

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 release at age 50 and still have a life.

The prosecutor's office told New Jersey 101.5 it had consulted with the family before agreeing to the plea deal. Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said Tina Wells had been part of those discussions.

“Never once did any member of the family express second thoughts about the agreement," he said. "The family wanted the plea entered agreement done right away, endorsed the resolution and was satisfied and happy with it."

Cordero-Castro is scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 7.

Mark Anthony contributed to this report.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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