Suspect in Cleveland kidnappings charged; may face death penalty

Ariel CastroAriel Castro, 52, alleged to have kidnapped, tortured and sexually assaulted three women that he reportedly kept for more than 10 years in his Cleveland home, appeared in front of a judge Thursday on four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape.

Prosecutor Timothy “Tim” McGinty expressed that the case will be thoroughly investigated without any compromise and hinted he might seek the death penalty.

Michelle Knight, one of the abducted women, told police in an incident report that she had five miscarriages during the decade-long horrific ordeal.

“This child kidnapper operated a torture chamber and private prison, in the heart of our city. The horrific brutality and torture that the victims endured for a decade is beyond comprehension,”McGinty said.

He said he will be presenting the case to a grand jury and based on the facts, he intend to obtain charges for each sexual assault committed, rape, and each day of kidnapping.

And each act of aggravated murder the suspected kidnapper committed by terminating each of the five pregnancies.

“My office [and] the county prosecutor will also engage in a formal process, in which we evaluate whether to seek charges eligible for the death penalty,” McGinty concluded.

Prosecutors had asked for a $5m bail during the arraignment but the judge set it to $8m – apparently matching it to $2m for each of the kidnapped women and the six year old daughter of Amanda Berry – likely the daughter of the suspected kidnapper.

Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus have joined their families but Michelle Knight is reportedly still at the hospital.

Several media reports, citing unnamed police sources, reported that a ‘suicide’ note was found during evidence collection at the house of the suspect, in which he claimed that he was sexually abused by a family member in 2004 – two years after the abduction of Knight in 2002.

Castro had actually come to the attention of the police twice, during the period when the women were in captivity in his house, according to media reports.

The first time was when Castro, himself, had called the police to report that there was a fight on the street.

At the second contact, in 2004, police had actually gone to the house and knocked on the door; but left when no one came to answer the door – this was after Castro was reported to have left a child unattended on his bus.

He was a school bus driver and the case was never pursued thus, no criminal charges were filed.

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