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Investigator: Castro faces hundreds of new charges

6:40 AM, Jul 13, 2013   |    comments
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Video: More indictments released for Ariel Castro

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CLEVELAND -- Hundreds more criminal charges against Ariel Castro came out today -- enough to effectively put him away for decades if he is found guilty.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty released 648 more indictments against accused kidnapper/rapist Ariel Castro.

The Investigator Tom Meyer says Castro, 53, is now facing a total of 977 counts

Castro was indicted on June 7 on 329 counts for the years August 2002 through February 2007.

The three women -- Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight -- escaped May 6, 2013 from his Seymour Avenue home, along with Berry's 6-year-old daughter.

Today's indictments include the entire time frame that they were captives, from August, 2002 through May 6, 2013.

Castro is alleged to have abducted Knight on Aug. 22, 2002, Berry on April 21, 2003 and DeJesus in April 2004.

Today's indictment took up a staggering 576 pages.

In it, prosecutors say that Castro assaulted Amanda, Gina and Michelle in various rooms of the now-infamous house on Seymour Avenue, including a "pink" room and a bathroom.

It includes the two counts of aggravated murder from the first indictment, which stems from a single incident involving the unlawful  termination of a fetus, as well as 512 counts of kidnapping, 446 counts of rape, seven counts of gross sexual  imposition, six counts of felonious assault, three counts of child endangerment and one count of possession of criminal tools.

However, as The Investigator Tom Meyer points out, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's office still has to decide whether to seek the death penalty.

During a special meeting Thursday at the prosecutor's office, Castro's lawyers  both argued why he should not be put to death.

Some reports indicated that they claimed Friday's indictment as a victory, since it didn't include mention of the death penalty.

However, the prosecutor's office said it would be premature to come to that conclusion and that, for now, that decision remains up in the air.

The prosecutor's Capital Review Committee has not yet completed its evaluation of whether to seek the death penalty.

"Today's indictment moves us closer to resolution of this gruesome case," said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty. "Our investigation continues, as does our preparation for trial."

 

According to the information in both indictments, Knight had four pregnancies with Castro during her time of captivity.

After her abduction on Aug. 22, 2002, he kept her physically restrained in the upstairs part of the house. He first raped Knight the next day. She became pregnant for the first time between September and December of 2002.

Berry was abducted on April 21, 2003. He taped her legs and mouth, and also raped her that day after she attempted to escape, according to the indictment. Castro then chained her to a pole in the basement, and the next day, chained Berry to a heater in a bedroom.

 

DeJesus was abducted on April 2, 2004. Castro feloniously assaulted her with a pillow that day and sexually assaulted her in an upstairs bathroom. Later, he restrained her with chains and tape in the basement.

Castro will be in court next Wednesday to plead to the new charges. His trial is set to start in less than four weeks from now, on August 5.

The indictment that the grand jury returned Friday came two days after Castro's 53rd birthday, which he spent in his cell at the Cuyahoga County Jail.

The case is assigned to Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Russo.

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