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Ariel Castro Appears in Ohio Court, Pleads Not Guilty

12:08 PM, Jun 12, 2013   |    comments
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Ariel Castro

CLEVELAND (AP) - A Cleveland man has pleaded not guilty to holding three women captive in his home for a decade and raping them.

Fifty-two-year-old Ariel Castro was arraigned Wednesday on an indictment charging him with murder, kidnapping and rape in more than 300 counts.

The murder charge involves Castro's allegedly starving and punching a pregnant woman in captivity until she miscarried.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury returned the indictment Friday against the former Cleveland school bus driver, who was fired last fall.

His $8 million dollar bond was continued.

Castro's defense attorney is hinting a trial can be avoided with a plea if he escapes the death penalty.

Defense attorney Craig Weintraub addressed the death penalty issue Wednesday after 52-year-old Ariel Castro pleaded not guilty to hundreds of charges, including rape and kidnapping.

Weintraub says the defense is working to avoid an "unnecessary trial" involving the death penalty. Current charges involving an alleged forced miscarriage don't include death penalty specifications, but the prosecutor says that's under review.

The prosecutor's office says it's reviewing the defense comments.

A statement on the behalf of the three women says the arraignment day was "not easy" and the women are hoping for a just and prompt resolution.


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