Friday, December 15, 2017
News Roundup

Ohio man faces 329 charges in missing women case

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A man accused of holding three women captive in his run-down home in Cleveland for a decade and fathering a child with one of them has been indicted on 329 charges including murder, kidnapping and rape, prosecutors said.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury returned the indictment Friday against Ariel Castro, a former school bus driver fired last fall.

Castro, 52, is accused of kidnapping Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight and holding them captive along with a 6-year-old girl he fathered with Berry.

The grand jury charged Castro with two counts of aggravated murder related to one act, saying he purposely caused the unlawful termination of one of the women's pregnancies. Castro also was indicted on 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, three counts of felonious assault and one count of possession of criminal tools.

Castro's attorneys have said he would plead not guilty to any indictment. During his brief arraignment last month, Castro did not speak.

He is being held on $8 million bail. He has been taken off suicide prevention watch, jail officials said this week.

Castro was arrested May 6, shortly after the 27-year-old Berry broke through a door at the home, yelled to neighbors for help and frantically told a police dispatcher by phone: "Help me. I'm Amanda Berry. I've been kidnapped, and I've been missing for 10 years, and I'm, I'm here, I'm free now."

Knight, 32, said her five pregnancies ended after Castro starved her for at least two weeks and "repeatedly punched her in the stomach until she miscarried," authorities said.

Castro's two brothers were arrested with him but later were cleared of involvement in the case and were released.

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