The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Nation & World

July 17, 2013

Ohio kidnapping, rape suspect pleads not guilty

CLEVELAND, Ohio —  The Cleveland man accused of holding three women captive in his home for more than a decade pleaded not guilty Wednesday on an expanded indictment charging him with 512 counts of kidnapping and 446 counts of rape, among other crimes.

The charges returned Friday by a grand jury against Ariel Castro expanded on a 329-count indictment filed earlier that covered only part of the time frame of the alleged crimes. He previously pleaded not guilty to that indictment.

Castro, 53, has been jailed since his arrest on May 6 shortly after the women escaped to freedom. As in past court appearances, he kept his head down Wednesday, typically responding to a judge's questions with one-word answers.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Pamela Barker repeatedly told Castro to raise his head and keep his eyes open during the brief court appearance.

"Sir, please keep your eyes open so I make sure that you are listening to me and understanding what I'm saying, OK," the judge asked.

"I'm trying," said Castro, who in past court appearances has kept his head down and his chin tucked on his chest.

The judge continued his bond at $8 million.

Besides kidnapping and rape, the new 977-count indictment also charges him with seven counts of gross sexual imposition, six counts of felonious assault, three counts of child endangerment and one count of possessing criminal tools.

He previous was charged with two counts of aggravated murder related to one act, charges alleging that he purposely caused the unlawful termination of the pregnancy of one of the women.

The women appeared in a YouTube video last week to thank people who donated to a fund created to benefit them. They otherwise have sought to stay out of sight and have appealed for privacy.

Castro is scheduled for trial on Aug. 5, a date that could be delayed if the defense requests more preparation time. His legal team has hinted Castro would plead guilty if the death penalty was off the table.

Defense attorney Craig Weintraub said after the arraignment that he didn't expect a trial postponement.

"We have a trial date of Aug. 5, so either we're going to have a plea or we're going to trial Aug. 5," he said.

The prosecution has said it would be ready for that date.

Castro is accused of repeatedly restraining the women, sometimes chaining them to a pole in a basement, to a bedroom heater or inside a van. The charges say one of the women tried to escape and he assaulted her with a vacuum cord around her neck.

Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus and Michelle Knight disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old. Each said they had accepted a ride from Castro, who remained friends with Dejesus' family and even attended vigils over the years marking her disappearance.

Berry has a 6-year-old daughter fathered by Castro, authorities said.

The Associated Press does not usually identify people who may be victims of sexual assault, but the names of the three women were widely circulated by their families, friends and law enforcement authorities for years during their disappearances and after they were found.

 

1
Text Only
Nation & World
  • Israel pushes deeper in Gaza after soldier seized Backed by tank fire and airstrikes, Israeli forces pushed deep into southern Gaza on Friday, searching for an Israeli army officer believed to be captured by Hamas fighters during deadly clashes that shattered an internationally brokered cease-fire.

    August 1, 2014

  • Gas Prices [Duplicate] Rare summer relief for gasoline prices The gasoline price roller coaster is running a strange course this summer.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_immigratonreform.jpg House GOP weighs tough new immigration bills

    House Republicans pushed legislation on Friday that would clear the way for eventual deportation of more than 500,000 immigrants brought here illegally as kids and address the surge of immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Semi crash coats I-465 in butter

    A semitrailer has overturned on an Indianapolis interstate, spilling what police say are 45,000 pounds of packages of butter and other dairy products.

    August 1, 2014

  • Investigators make it to Ukraine jet crash site

    As fighting raged in eastern Ukraine, an international team of investigators on Thursday reached the crash site of the Malaysia Airline Flight 17 and got a first look at where it was brought down by a missile two weeks ago.

    July 31, 2014

  • Ticket me Elmo? NYC mulls law for impersonators

     New York City officials are turning up the heat on Elmo, Cookie Monster and Statue of Liberty impersonators — Times Square costumed characters who often demand money for posing in photos with tourists.

    July 30, 2014

  • US economy grew at strong 4 percent rate in spring

    After a dismal winter, the U.S. economy sprang back to life in the April-June quarter, growing at a fast 4 percent annual rate on the strength of higher consumer and business spending.

    July 30, 2014

  • Broken water main floods UCLA; 5 people rescued

    A broken water main near the UCLA campus Tuesday sent a geyser of water some 30 feet into the air, trapping people in underground parking garages and covering some of the best-known parts of campus in water, including the school's famed basketball arena.

    July 30, 2014

  • Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors

    More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute.

    July 29, 2014

  • Medicare's own health looking better, report says

    Medicare's financial future is looking brighter despite a growing wave of baby boomers reaching retirement.

    July 29, 2014