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No Death Penalty Yet for Ariel Castro
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Kidnapping and murder suspect Ariel Castro was indicted again on hundreds of new criminal charges. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty did not call for the death penalty. The full indictment so far has a total of 977 counts, composed of charges for crimes that prosecutors claim Castro committed against the women he kidnapped. Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were kidnapped and trapped for a decade in a dungeon type imprisonment where they were raped and tortured.

Prosecutors have accused 52 year old Ariel Castro of repeatedly raping women in his home where he had captured them, keeping them chained and imprisoned. The new indictment includes counts of kidnapping, rape, gross sexual imposition, felonious assault, child endangerment, and criminal tools possession. There are also counts of aggravated murder that sprung from claims that Castro beat and tortured one of the women into miscarrying a child, according to Cleveland.com.

  
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Prosecutor McGinty commented, “Today’s indictment moves us closer to resolution of this gruesome case. Our investigation continues, as does our preparation for trial.”

In the State of Ohio, Prosecutor McGinty can seek the death penalty for aggravated murder if it is coupled with a kidnapping charge. In 1996, the Ohio legislature passed a law that allows for an aggravated murder charge in cases where a pregnancy is unlawfully terminated.

This past Thursday a capital review committee within Prosecutor McGinty’s office met. They aimed at deciding whether or not to pursue the death penalty for Ariel Castro. The current indictment has no inclusion of this specification, but it could be added to the indictment in the future, according to McGinty spokesman Joe Frolik.

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Castro’s defense attorneys Craig Weintraub and Jaye Schlachet issued a written statement. They were apparently glad to be able to convince the prosecutor’s office to “not seek and obtain the death penalty in this new indictment.” They went on to say that they hoped to continue to work towards a resolution of the case. And they finally hoped that the women involved don’t have to suffer any additional trauma.

Castro was ruled as competent to stand trial by judge Michael Russo. Ariel Castro is being held in Cuyahoga County Jail and has come to pre-trial hearings in bright orange with his hands and feet in shackles.



Michelle Knight was 21 when she went missing in August of 2002. Amanda Berry was 16 when she disappeared in April 2003, and Gina DeJesus was 14 when she failed to arrive home from Wilbur Wright School in April 2004. The trial is still scheduled to begin Aug. 5.



 

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