Ariel Castro: Trial or plea deal?

6:34 PM, Jul 24, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Will Ariel Castro's trial start Aug. 5?


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The Evidence: Prosecutor's Case Photos (PDF)

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CLEVELAND -- Justice for Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight may only be a few weeks away.

"We've got nearly a 1,000 counts in a period of ten years of solid crime. Never stopped. Day after day after day," said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty during the last scheduled pre-trial hearing Wednesday.

Ariel Castro is scheduled to go on trial Aug. 5 for murder, kidnapping and rape charges. He's accused of holding the three women and the daughter of Amanda Berry captive for years.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty and Castro's attorneys say they're still talking, trying to find a plea agreement both sides would accept.

In the process, they're posturing. The two sides sparred over evidence, whether discovery items were being supplied to the defense in a timely fashion.

"How are we supposed to possibly defend this gentleman when they've got information and we learn about it from the Plain Dealer? It's just not right, your honor," said Jaye Schlachet, who represents Castro.

The Ohio BCI is finished testing 172 pieces of evidence, handing over the report Tuesday.

Attorney General Mike DeWine says the work was one of the biggest cases in recent memory.

McGinty says the FBI fast-tracked transcripts from witness and defendant debriefs from the days following the women's heroic escape in May.

"There has never been more evidence provided faster than this case here, in our county's history," said McGinty.

Ariel Castro kept his head down and eyes clinched shut for much of the hearing, only responding to answer Judge Michael Russo's questions when he was told to speak up.

Jurors have been summoned and the judge is moving forward to a speedy, yet likely complex trial. The three women may have to relive their years inside the so-called 'House of Horrors' on the witness stand.

Conversations on plea agreements may have continued today while attorneys had a lengthy session in the judge's chambers following the hearing.

Prosecutors haven't released findings from the county's Capital Review Committee on whether Castro should face the death penalty.

It's not likely to be made public until the death penalty is out of play in plea deal conversations.


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