The Cleveland man accused of kidnapping three women and holding them in his home for roughly a decade has pleaded not guilty to nearly one thousand criminal charges.
Nick Castele of member station WCPN reports on the case of Ariel Castro.
In previous court appearances Castro has kept his head down, chin pressed to his chest. This time, Judge Pamela Barker told him to look up, which he did.
She then read through an abridged list of the 977 counts against Castro - hundreds of counts each of kidnapping and rape, and two counts of aggravated murder for allegedly causing one of the women to miscarry through physical abuse.
Castro’s attorneys have said a trial involving the death penalty would be unnecessary, and got the chance last week to argue that privately before a capital review committee.
Joseph Frolik, a spokesman for the prosecution, says prosecutors are still deciding on that point.
FROLIK: “We retain the right as noted in the two aggravated murder counts in Friday’s indictment to come back with a third, superseding indictment that would include a death penalty spec.”
Defense attorney Craig Weintraub says the defense is hoping to avoid going to trial.
WEINTRAUB: “What we are doing is looking forward to the resolution of this matter to spare the women of having to provide any details of these horrible events to the world at large.”
Weintraub says he’s still preparing for a trial, though. It’s set to begin Aug. 5.