Ariel Castro, who was accused of imprisoning three women and sexually abusing them at his house for ten years, made his first court appearance since his arrest on Monday (May 6, 2013). He was formally charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape. However, the Cleveland man could face the death penalty if it’s determined he is responsible for the unborn children’s deaths of the victims Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight.
Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty said Ariel Castro may be charged with aggravated murder because he allegedly impregnated his captives and then forced them to suffer miscarriages, meaning he terminated the pregnancies by force. The 52-year-old captor was set at $8m by Cleveland Municipal Court. Judge Lauren Moore calculated bail at $2 million per victim, including little girl Jocelyn, who was born to Amanda Berry on Christmas Day in 2006. Michelle Knight, one of three women held captive for more than a decade, said that the baby was delivered in a plastic pool inside the house. Under threats by Ariel Castro, Knight performed CPR and saved Berry’s baby at birth by breathing into her mouth when the child stopped breathing. The 32-year-old woman also told police that she got pregnant five times during the confinement, miscarrying each time because she was repeatedly punched in the stomach by Mr. Castro.
During the court hearing in Cleveland on Thursday (May 9, 2013), Ariel Castro, who was fired from his job driving school buses last November, did not enter a formal plea. His two brothers, Pedro Castro, 54, and Onil Castro, 50 also appeared in court on unrelated outstanding misdemeanour charges but were released. A Cuyahoga County grand jury will hear evidence in coming days and weeks. It also could indict Ariel Castro on additional charges, including aggravated murder.
Ariel Castro was handcuffed and dressed in a dark blue jail jumpsuit when he made his first court appearance on Thursday (May 9, 2013). He bowed his head, remained silent and avoided looking at the gallery through most of the five-minute hearing.
Ariel Castro reportedly locked his late wife Grimilda Figueroa in a wooden box, repeatedly imprisoned her in their home and viciously beat her. He also beat his children and banned them from entering locked sections of the house.
The captor kidnapped Gina DeJesus, his friend’s daughter in 2004, even handing out fliers with her photo and performed music at a fundraiser held in her honor. Last year, when neighbors gathered for a candlelight vigil to remember Gina, he was there too, comforting the girl’s mom.
Ariel Castro stared at the floor during his arraignment at Cleveland municipal court even as he exchanged words and a few nods with public defender Kathleen DeMetz, his attorney.
Ariel Castro’s Facebook page surfaced on Wednesday morning. He only joined the social network this past February.
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