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Cleveland: Ariel Castro tentative trial date set for August

5:38 PM, Jun 19, 2013   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Slideshow | Ariel Castro court appearances

Video: Raw video: Ariel Castro enters court for pre-trial hearing

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Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight found alive

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Crime & Punishment: Castro Sentenced

The Evidence: Prosecutor's Case Photos (PDF)

Survivor Speaks: “Your hell is only beginning”

Turning the Tables: Castro hears from survivors in court

Castro Speaks: “I’m not a monster”

Word Cloud: Castro’s statement

Read: Castro’s Statement

Inside the House: FBI says house became a cage

Photos: Castro evidence

Photos: See Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus pictures

Photos: Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry come home

Photos: Ariel Castro in court

Photos: Decade in isolation

The house: Photos show backyard at Castro’s house

The deal:  Castro’s plea agreement

Son speaks: Ariel Castro's son says dad's punishment fits

Enjoying freedom: Amanda Berry makes surprise public appearance

 Families approve deal: Families pleased with Castro plea deal

 Justice served: Prosecutor says Castro plea deal is justice

 Reign of terror ends: Ariel Castro pleads guilty

 House’s future: Castro home headed for wrecking ball?

 Viral Video: Amanda, Gina and Michelle release thank-you video

Judge denies request: Castro denied request to see Amanda Berry’s child

Look up: Judge orders Castro to open his eyes in court 

 

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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.

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