Ariel Castro was ordered to have a mental evaluation by Judge Michael Russo

4:20 PM, Jun 26, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND --  Ariel Castro appeared in court again Wednesday for another pre-trial in his case.

As in previous court appearances, Castro kept his head down and eyes averted during entire hearing which lasted less than 10 minutes.  He was dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, handcuffed and shackled.

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Judge Michael Russo ordered Castro be evaluated by a court psychologist to be certain Castro is competent and able to understand the charges against him and assist him attorneys with his defense.

When asked if he understood he would be talking to a psychologist and why, Castro answered, "I do."

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty told the judge there is absolutely no doubt that Castro is competent and was competent at the time of the crimes as well. 

Castro has pleaded not guilty to a 329-count indictment.  He is accused of holding three women captive in his Seymour Avenue home for a decade. 

The current indictment involves counts from 2002 to 2007. 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.

McGinty has told the court that additional charges are likely.

Castro was arrested after Amanda Berry escaped the Seymour Avenue home on May 6 and ran to a neighbor's for help.

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The judge set another pre-trial for July 3 at 8:45 a.m.  Previously the judge has said he is aiming for a potential August trial unless there is a delay.

Judge Russo said he will await the court's report on Castro's  evaluation before making a decision on any motion waving a right to a speedy trial that would delay the proceedings.

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Castro's attorneys have said repeatedly they would consider a plea deal if the death penalty option is taken off the table.  McGinty has not said if he will pursue the death penalty on the aggravated murder charge.

Castro remains jailed on $8 million bond.


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