CLEVELAND - The man accused of kidnapping three Cleveland women and holding them captive in his Seymour Avenue house for a decade was indicted on 329 counts on Friday.
Ariel Castro also faces two counts of aggravated murder for purposely causing the termination of a pregnancy, the prosecutor’s office said. The 52-year-old's other counts include 139 counts of rape and 177 counts of kidnapping in the disappearances of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight.
“We have a great legal system plus confidence and faith in the prosecutor’s office and its decisions. Now, we need to stand back and let the judicial process unfold," attorneys for the three women said on Friday.
This indictment only covers from August 2002 to February 2007. More charges could be filed.
After the indictment process is over, the prosecutor’s capital review committee will decide whether to seek the death penalty.
[ Read the entire indictment here: http://on.wews.com/15U3Dd6 ]
“Today’s indictments represent a first major step in the criminal justice process,’’ said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty. “Our investigation continues, and we will present our findings to the grand jury.’’
The women were found when Berry, who went missing in 2003, broke free from Castro's house with her daughter on May 6 thanks to neighbors and called police. When officers arrived, they discovered DeJesus and Knight.
Castro will be arraigned next week and a trial judge will be assigned, the prosecutor’s office said.
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