329 Charges in Ohio Missing Women Case
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A man accused of holding three women captive in his run-down home in Cleveland for a decade and fathering a child with one of them has been indicted on 329 charges including murder, kidnapping and rape, prosecutors said.
A Cuyahoga County grand jury returned the indictment Friday against Ariel Castro, a former school bus driver fired last fall.
Castro, 52, is accused of kidnapping Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight and holding them captive along with a 6-year-old girl he fathered with Berry.
The grand jury charged Castro with two counts of aggravated murder related to one act, saying he purposely caused the unlawful termination of one of the women’s pregnancies. Castro also was indicted on 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, three counts of felonious assault and one count of possession of criminal tools.
Castro’s attorneys have said he would plead not guilty to any indictment. Castro, during his brief arraignment last month, tried to hide his face, tucking his chin inside his shirt collar, and did not speak.
Castro is being held on $8 million bail. He has been taken off suicide prevention watch, jail officials said this week. He has told jail guards he won’t accept interview requests.
A telephone message left for one of his attorneys after business hours on Friday wasn’t immediately returned.
Castro was arrested May 6, shortly after Berry broke through a door at the home, yelled to neighbors for help and frantically told a police dispatcher by phone: “Help me. I’m Amanda Berry. I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been missing for 10 years, and I’m, I’m here, I’m free now.”
Berry, 27, told officers that she was forced to give birth in a plastic pool in the house so it would be easier to clean up. Berry said she, her baby and the two other women rescued with her had never been to a doctor during their captivity.