The man suspected of kidnapping three women and holding them captive in his Cleveland home for about a decade pleaded not guilty to all 329 charges related to the crime, the Associated Press reports.
Ariel Castro, 52, was arraigned Wednesday morning. He didn’t say anything in court, but his lawyers are expected to speak later today.
One of Castro’s lawyers, Craig Weintraub, said this in an interview with local news station WKYC last month:
“The initial portrayal by the media has been one of a ‘monster’ and that’s not the impression that I got when I talked to him for three hours. I know that family members who have been interviewed by the media have expressed that as well.”
The charges he pleaded not guilty to include kidnapping, rape, and aggravated murder for the abortions he allegedly forced on one woman.
All three women he is accused of kidnapping and imprisoning escaped alive. A leaked police report reveals that one of the women, Amanda Berry, said she was able to escape after Castro forgot to lock one of the house’s interior doors when he left to get food. Berry then kicked out the front door with the help of a neighbour, who heard her screaming.
Berry reportedly birthed a daughter while in captivity. The daughter is now 6 years old.
The women were reportedly held in chains and beaten while imprisoned in Castro’s house. He allegedly abducted each of them from the same neighbourhood on different dates.
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