CLEVELAND (AP) — The man accused of keeping three women in captivity for about a decade will plead not guilty but it’s uncertain if he can receive a fair trial anywhere, a member of his defense team said Wednesday.
Craig Weintraub, a former prosecutor representing Ariel Castro, 52, on rape and kidnapping charges, said in an interview that the location of a trial is “always an issue when you have a case that has such fantastic notoriety.”
Castro’s defense team, including Weintraub colleague Jaye Schlachet, must decide at some point whether to ask to have any trial moved out of Cleveland, Weintraub said.
“Then that begs the question: ‘Well, where can he get a fair trial based on the circumstances?’ This is such a sensationalistic type case which has received international coverage.”
Castro, a former school bus driver, was arrested May 6 shortly after Amanda Berry kicked out part of a locked door of his house and yelled to neighbors to help her and call police.
Police quickly arrived and found Berry in the street holding a baby and then raced through the house, freeing Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. The women were admitted to a hospital but have been released and have remained in seclusion appealing for privacy.
The three disappeared between 2002 and 2004, when they were in their teens or early 20s, authorities said.
Castro has been jailed on $8 million bond.
Weintraub, interviewed in his law office in a skyscraper overlooking the county jail and courts building, said Castro is despondent in his bare-bones cell — but Weintraub thinks people believe he’s got it too good under the circumstances.
“His day consists of remaining 24 hours a day in a room that is probably 9 (feet) by 9 that contains a metal bed, a very thin mattress that is covered in plastic. It has a metal sink and what appears to be some sort of a mirror,” Weintraub said.