CLEVELAND (AP) — Ariel Castro was ordered held on $8 million bail Thursday as prosecutors laid out more of their case against the man accused of imprisoning three young women, saying he lured them into his car, beat them repeatedly over a decade and used them “in whatever self-gratifying, self-serving way he saw fit.”
The 52-year-old former school bus driver was under a suicide watch in jail, where he was being held on kidnapping and rape charges.
During his brief arraignment, he tried to hide his face, tucking his chin inside his collar. He appeared to close his eyes during the hearing and awkwardly signed documents while handcuffed. He did not speak or enter a plea.
Kathleen DeMetz, a public defender assigned to represent him at the hearing, didn’t comment on his guilt or innocence or object when prosecutors recommended bail be set at $5 million. The judge, instead, ordered Castro held on $8 million.
Castro has been in custody since Monday, when Amanda Berry, who was 16 when she disappeared, broke out of his run-down house and called 911. Police found the two other women inside. The women, now in their 20s and 30s, vanished separately between 2002 and 2004. At the time, they were 14, 16 and 20 years old.
Castro had lured each of them into his vehicle, according to court documents filed Thursday.
Investigators and a city official briefed on the case said that the women could recall being outside only twice in the past decade, that they were apparently bound with ropes and chains, and that they were sexually abused and suffered miscarriages. Berry gave birth to a daughter, now 6, while in captivity.
Castro used the women “in whatever self-gratifying, self-serving way he saw fit,” prosecutor Brian Murphy said in court.
The Plain Dealer in Cleveland reported Thursday that Berry gave birth to her daughter in an inflatable swimming pool.
A police report obtained by the newspaper said Castro forced another of his alleged captives, Michaell Knight, to deliver the baby and threatened to kill her if the infant did not survive. The baby stopped breathing, and Knight resuscitated the child by breathing into her, the report said.
Berry, 27, and the third captive, Gina DeJesus, 22, went home with relatives on Wednesday. Knight, 32, was reported in good condition at a Cleveland hospital.
Castro was in jail under “suicide precaution,” meaning an officer was stationed outside his cell and observing him at all times, said sheriff’s spokesman John O’Brien.
His two brothers, who were arrested but later cleared of involvement in the kidnapping case, appeared in court on unrelated charges and were released. They left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.
Pedro Castro, 54, pleaded no contest to an open container charge, while two charges against Onil Castro, 50, were dismissed.
On Thursday, a musician who often practiced at Ariel Castro’s house said he was there last week and heard noises, “like banging on the wall.” Ricky Sanchez said he asked Castro about it, and he blamed it on the dogs. He also said Castro — a bass guitarist in merengue and salsa bands — liked to play his music loud inside.
On his most recent visit, Sanchez said, a little girl came out from the kitchen and stared at him but didn’t say anything. He said he also noticed there were four or five locks on the outside door.
“When I was about to leave, I tried to open the door. I couldn’t even, because there were so many locks in there,” he said.
Ariel Castro’s adult daughter, Arlene Castro, appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday. She tearfully said she was embarrassed and devastated upon learning of her father’s suspected role in the kidnappings. Arlene Castro was walking home from school with DeJesus in 2004 just before she disappeared.
“I would like to say I’m absolutely so, so sorry,” she said. “I really want to see you, Gina, and I want you to meet my kids. I’m so sorry about everything.”