CLEVELAND (AP) — A man accused of kidnapping three women and holding them in his home and raping them over a decade was given a late summer trial date Wednesday.
Ariel Castro, 52, appeared in court for a brief hearing as Cuyahoga County Judge Michael Russo said he was aiming to begin the trial by Aug. 4, meeting a 90-day speedy trial requirement. Castro was arrested May 6, and the speedy trial requirement could be waived to allow more preparation time.
Castro faces another pretrial hearing June 26.
As in previous court appearances, Castro had his wrists and ankles shackled and kept his chin tucked in his chest. He answered “yes” and “no” to the judge’s questions about his understanding of the proceedings.
The judge mentioned the possibility of a plea deal raised last week by the defense and asked that any deal that emerges be submitted by attorneys in writing.
Prosecutor Tim McGinty left court without commenting.
Outside court, Castro attorney Craig Weintraub said the defense was focused on whether the prosecution had enough evidence to get an aggravated murder conviction for an allegedly forced miscarriage involving one of the women. The prosecutor hasn’t said whether he would pursue the death penalty.
Weintraub hinted last week that a plea agreement to avoid a trial was possible if the death penalty was taken off the table.
“That’s the most important aspect of the case to us and obviously whether or not the death penalty would be applicable,” he said. “It’s been shifted to the prosecutor’s office as to whether or not they want to pursue this. But as of right now, we haven’t received any of the evidence that would support an aggravated murder conviction.”
McGinty told the judge that his office was working to provide the defense with required access to the evidence on a timely basis.
Also Wednesday, lawmakers in Columbus briefly addressed a bill that would provide the women years of relief payments, college tuition and medical assistance.
The chairman of the Ohio House Health and Aging Committee, Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, told the group the measure is a “work in progress.” The Napoleon Republican said legislators have been in contact with the state’s attorney general’s office and higher education leaders to develop the bill.
The proposal would provide the women with a minimum of $25,000 annually in reparations for the years they were held captive. They would also receive tuition, fees and living expenses at a public college.
The bill also requires pursuit of a federal waiver for the women — or anyone restrained or held in “involuntary servitude” for at least eight years — in order to collect lifetime government medical assistance.
Castro, who has pleaded not guilty, 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.
The indictment alleges Castro held the women captive, sometimes chaining them to a pole in a basement, to a bedroom heater or inside a van. It says one of the women tried to escape and he assaulted her with a vacuum cord around her neck.
The indictment covers the period from August 2002, when the first of the women disappeared, to February 2007.
More charges are possible. McGinty told the judge that additional evidence would be presented to a grand jury over the next few weeks.
Castro has been held on $8 million bail.
He was arrested shortly after one of the women broke through a door and yelled to neighbors for help.
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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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