Ariel Castro pleads not guilty to rape, kidnapping charges

Ariel Castro Ariel Castro pleads not guilty to rape, kidnapping chargesAreil Castro, the man accused of holding three women captive in his Cleveland, Ohio residence for about ten years, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to rape and kidnapping charges.

Castro has been charged with kidnapping the three women and keeping them – and a 6-year-old girl he fathered with one of them – locked in his basement.

The 52-year-old did not speak during his arraignment.

His attorneys plan to release a prepared statement later in the day on Wednesday.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury’s 329-count indictment charges Castro with one count of aggravated murder for allegedly terminating one of his captives’ pregnancies, 139 counts of rape and 177 charges of kidnapping, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, three counts of felony assault and one count of possession of criminal tools dating from the time of the first woman’s disappearance until February 2007.

Amanda Berry escaped from Castro’s home on May 6 and led police to Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight.

Berry gave birth to a daughter while she was being held captive.

Berry, now 27, disappeared April 21, 2003, a day before her 17th birthday. Knight, now 32, disappeared Aug. 22, 2002, the day she was to appear at a custody hearing for her son. DeJesus, now 21, disappeared April 2, 2004.

Washington Post

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