Castro To Plead Not Guilty

May 16, 2013

Attorneys for the man accused of kidnapping three Cleveland women and holding them for a decade say he plans to plead not guilty.

Ariel Castro's attorneys defended his character in an interview on Cleveland television. Nick Castele of member station WCPN in Cleveland reports.

Castro’s attorneys told WKYC that they spoke with him for several hours, and that he loves his daughter, whom he is alleged to have fathered with one of the women he is accused of kidnapping.

Attorney Jaye Schlachet, who also represented Anthony Sowell, said the media has unfairly portrayed Castro as a monster.

SCHLACHET: “The media and the community wants to demonize this man before they really know this whole story, and I think it’s unfair and it’s just not equitable.”

A plea of not guilty is normal, says Ian Friedman, who defended convicted Chardon High School shooter T.J. Lane and is not involved in the Castro case.

Friedman says defense attorneys almost always advise pleading not guilty initially. That way, they can review the prosecution’s evidence during the pretrial phase.

FRIEDMAN: “As horrendous as this case is, they are going down the road, following the procedure that’s done in all cases.”

And Friedman says, as part of providing the best possible defense, it’s common to try to move the trial to another jurisdiction. Castro’s defense says they’ll consider that. 

Castro is charged with three counts of rape and four of kidnapping, but the county prosecutor has said wants an indictment on each instance of assault and rape, each day of kidnapping, and aggravated murder in connection with alleged forced miscarriages. The prosecutor has said he’ll evaluate whether he can seek the death penalty.