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.
He declined to comment on a jail suicide watch for Castro or jail guard reports that Castro has been sitting in his cell naked. Weintraub said he would have been alerted if going naked reflected a medical issue.
Castro has made it clear that he loves his 6-year-old daughter born to Berry, Weintraub said.
“I know that that seems to be irrational from the public perception standpoint, but he does indeed love her and is concerned about her future,” Weintraub said.
He said the issue of custody hadn’t been mentioned in discussions with Castro.
The girl was born Christmas Day 2006, delivered by Knight in a kiddie pool so the cleanup would be easy, police say. Knight told police she was ordered by Castro under threat of death to deliver the baby live.
Weintraub said the defense hadn’t researched issues raised last week when Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty said Castro could face aggravated murder charges, and a possible death sentence, related to allegations that he impregnated Knight and forced her to miscarry at least five times by starving her and punching her in the stomach repeatedly.
Weintraub said only that “everybody is entitled to their own opinion” when asked about Castro’s two brothers — arrested but quickly cleared of any involvement — calling him a “monster.”
Amid reports of threats against the defense team and arson threats against Castro’s house, Weintraub appealed for understanding that every criminal defendant is guaranteed an effective defense.
“It’s an unfortunate fact today that there are people that will align themselves with the mob mentality and we are — criminal defense attorneys are unique people,” he said.
“We’re in a position where we represent those that may be considered the most evil people in society. But the Constitution permits that and requires it. Otherwise it would be execution at the time of an allegation.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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