Judge scolds Castro at plea hearing

Cleveland man accused of holding three women captive keeps head down, pleads not guilty
Associated Press
Jul 17, 2013

A man accused of holding three women captive for a decade was scolded repeatedly by a judge to raise his head and open his eyes in a brief court appearance where he pleaded not guilty Wednesday to nearly 1,000 counts of kidnap, rape and other crimes.

For the most part, Ariel Castro, 53, responded to the judge's questions with one-word answers as he faced charges that included 512 counts of kidnapping and 446 counts of rape.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Pamela Barker repeatedly told him to raise his head and keep his eyes open so "I make sure that you are listening to me and understanding what I'm saying, OK?"

"I'm trying," said Castro, who in past court appearances had kept his head down and his chin tucked on his chest.

One of his attorneys, Craig Weintraub, declined later to discuss Castro's courtroom demeanor. "I'm not going to comment on that," he said.

The charges returned Friday by a grand jury against Castro expanded on a 329-count indictment filed earlier that covered only part of the time frame of the alleged crimes. He previously pleaded not guilty to that indictment.

Castro has been jailed since his arrest on May 6 shortly after the women escaped to freedom.

The judge continued his bond at $8 million.

Besides kidnapping and rape, the new 977-count indictment also charges him with seven counts of gross sexual imposition, six counts of felonious assault, three counts of child endangerment and one count of possessing criminal tools.

He previously was charged with two counts of aggravated murder related to one act, charges alleging that he purposely caused the unlawful termination of the pregnancy of one of the women.

Castro is scheduled for trial on Aug. 5, a date that could be delayed if the defense requests more preparation time. His legal team has hinted Castro would plead guilty if the death penalty was off the table.

Weintraub said after the arraignment that he didn't expect a trial postponement.

"We have a trial date of Aug. 5, so either we're going to have a plea or we're going to trial Aug. 5," he said.

The prosecution has said it would be ready for that date.

Castro is accused of repeatedly restraining the women, sometimes chaining them to a pole in a basement, to a bedroom heater or inside a van. The charges say one of the women tried to escape and he assaulted her with a vacuum cord around her neck.

Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus and Michelle Knight disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old. Each said they had accepted a ride from Castro, who remained friends with Dejesus' family and even attended vigils over the years marking her disappearance.

Berry has a 6-year-old daughter fathered by Castro, authorities said.

The Associated Press does not usually identify people who may be victims of sexual assault, but the names of the three women were widely circulated after they disappeared, and the women appeared on a video last week to thank the public for its support.

Comments

YoMamma

May his soul burn in hell!

PaulYall

Take'em out back and shoot'em!

dorothy gale

Can't open his damn eyes but has the gall to play the plea deal game and plead not guilty! What a sickening coward. He needs to burn with his eyes taped open.

dorothy gale

Posted twice.

ladydye_5

Why does he act like that in court? Always looking down, half asleep, not looking at anyone? A) it is the classic GUILTY look! B) trying for the crazy defense C) he is drugged? I mean WTH? Be a man. Look the judge in the eye! Quit acting like a little B*t@h. You were man enough to commit these horrendous acts, OWN it. Oh that's right you only are man enough to hurt and over power little girls. You cannot stand up like a man. Take this sorry excuse of a human out back and let a firing squad have a go at him. Be done with it.

Eph 2 8-10

He's hoping that if he closes his eyes, it will all go away.....

2cents

This can help!

Sorry this thing is not even human in my eyes!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6...

candleburner

I'll admit he needs to hang his head in shame for the things he did to those girls but not in court. He needs to man up and stop acting like he's a victim in all this. He knew exactly what he was doing and he actually deserves more than what the justice system can give him but that's up to God to take care of.

benedict

Oh My!! 2cents that scared the Sh#t out of me!!..lol Yeah he wants to play the victim now, "Oh poor me!!"

2cents

Your welcome, now go clean up : )

OSUBuckeye59

Even one word such as heinous doesn't come close to capturing the evil, despicable actions of this one individual. My hope is once he is found guilty, he receives a life sentence without parole. A death sentence verdict is too generous to this individual. He should be made to spend the rest of his life on this earth incarcerated so he can then experience the brutality and incarceration he imposed upon his captives.

dorothy gale

Problem is, he will probably not be in general population and will not be brutalized. He won't be chained to a pole or beaten or raped or murdered. This is one of those crimes for which there just isn't enough punishment that the penal system can legally dish out, except to put him in general population and let prison justice work its magic.