Man living in US illegally pleads ‘not guilty’ in girlfriend’s death

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A 20-year-old man charged in the stabbing death of his 16-year-old girlfriend pleaded not guilty in court Thursday.

The loved ones of Madison Wells filled the courtroom as Bryan Cordero-Castro appeared before a judge. Investigators say that Cordero-Castro was living in the United States illegally. 

Officials say that Cordero-Castro stabbed Wells to death Saturday night in Long Branch. He was charged with first-degree murder.

Cordero-Castro’s friends say that they are stunned by the murder and what he is accused of doing.

RELATED: Officials: Long Branch man charged for fatal stabbing of teen

“I always used to see them together,” says Leonardo Alvarado. “Always happy. Like holding hands, walking on the boardwalk at Pier Village. Always.”

Others say that he was really nice and easy to get along with.

Wells’ family members did not wish to speak to the media about the case Thursday.

Cordero-Castro was also charged with weapons possessions and attempted escape. A motive for the killing was not immediately made clear.

The Guatemalan native faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted and could also face deportation.

He is due back in court Oct. 31.

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