CLEVELAND -- Ariel Castro, the man accused of kidnapping three women and holding them captive inside his Seymour Avenue home for a decade, was back in a Cuyahoga County courtroom this morning.
Shackled, handcuffed, and dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, Castro kept his eyes down or closed through the entire 10 minute hearing.
For the first time, we did get to hear him speak as he answered the judge's questions with one-word answers of yes or no.
PHOTOS | Ariel Castro in court
Judge Michael Russo in Cleveland says he's aiming for an August trial for Castro, who was arrested May 6.
The 90-day speedy trial requirement could be waived to allow more preparation time. Judge Russo also set the next pre-trial hearing for June 26 at 8:45 a.m.
The judge also told prosecutors and defense counsel that if there were to be a plea deal in this case it would need to be a written agreement.
Afterwards, Castro's attorneys told reporters there has been no word from prosecutors about the possibility of a plea deal.
They reiterated their earlier comments that a plea is possible in the case if the death penalty is taken off the table.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty attended the pre-trial hearing and told the judge that additional evidence is being presented to the grand jury over the next two weeks and that he expects additional charges.
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The current indictment involving 329 counts covers the period from 2002 to 2007.
Castro is being held on $8 million bond.
Among the hundreds of charges including more than 100 each of rape and kidnapping, Castro also faces aggravated murder charges for the alleged forced termination of one of the women's pregnancies.
Medical experts say with no physical evidence, fetal homicide could be hard to prove.
"You don't have a body, you don't have any hospital medical records pertaining to the pregnancies," Cyril Wecht told Channel 3 News.
But Attorney Ian Friedman disagrees.
"For a conviction, I don't think they need that," says Friedman, "The statute in Ohio doesn't require this medical evidence. So they can prove it that way. Think about who they're telling the story to: 12 jurors who are going to want to punish this man."
The three women, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, were rescued on May 6 after Berry kicked out a door and ran to the neighbors for help.