CLEVELAND (AP) — Prosecutors and attorneys for a man accused of kidnapping three women, holding them captive in his Cleveland home for about a decade and raping them repeatedly said they have entered into plea negotiations.
Both sides are scheduled to appear in court Friday morning for a final pretrial hearing for Ariel Castro, 53, and to update a Cuyahoga County judge on the talks.
Plea deal discussions are hinging on whether prosecutors will rule out the death penalty as the defense has demanded.
Castro, whose trial is scheduled to start Aug. 5, has pleaded not guilty to nearly 1,000 counts of kidnapping, rape and other crimes. His 576-page indictment includes two counts of aggravated murder for allegedly punching and starving one of the women until she miscarried.
Cleveland TV stations reported Thursday that a plea offer had been made. Defense attorney Jaye Schlachet declined to comment on the status of the talks but said offers and counteroffers would be expected.
“We’re in the middle of plea negotiating, that’s where we’re at,” he said. “Plea negotiations have been undertaken which, when there’s plea offers and like any other negotiations, there’s offers, there’s negotiations, there’s acceptance of offers, things of that sort.”