CLEVELAND, Ohio – Ariel Castro, the man accused of abducting and holding three women captive in his home for about a decade, pleaded not guilty to the 329 counts. Lawyers for the 52-year-old former school bus driver entered the plea during a short hearing.
Castro showed up at the hearing wearing an orange jumper but didn’t speak. He let his lawyers do the talking. “I know the media wants to jump to concluisons and all the people in the community want to say terrible things about the person who’s accused,” said attorney Jaye Schalchet. “We are not even at the beginning of the process. If this was a marathon race, we’re not even at the starting line yet.”
Two counts accuse Castro of aggravated murder for purposely causing the unlawful termination of a pregnancy. One of the young women he’s accused of holding was impregnated five times by Castro, and another bore a child fathered by him, according to police.
The indictment also charges Castro with 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, McGinty said in a statement last week.
Castro is accused of hodling captive four people: Amanda Berry, 27, her six-year-old daughter, Gina DeJesus,22, and Michelle Knight, 31. Amanda Berry was kidnapped on the eve of her 17th birthday in April 2003. Michelle Knight was the first person to have been abducted. She went missing in 2002. Gina DeJesus was kidnapped in 2004 at the age of 14.
The three women were rescued last month when Amanda Berry caught the attention of neighbor Charles Ramsey who rescued her and called 911.