Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ohio Man Faces 329 Charges in Case of Missing Women Ex-School Bus Driver Accused of Murder, Kidnapping, Rape

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ohio Man Faces 329 Charges in Case of Missing Women Ex-School Bus Driver Accused of Murder, Kidnapping, Rape

Article excerpt

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A man accused of holding three women captive in his run-down home in Cleveland for a decade and fathering a child with one of them has been indicted on 329 charges including murder, kidnapping and rape, prosecutors said.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury returned the indictment Friday against Ariel Castro, a former school bus driver fired last fall.

Mr. Castro, 52, is accused of kidnapping Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight and holding them captive, along with a 6- year-old girl he fathered with Ms. Berry.

The grand jury charged Mr. Castro with two counts of aggravated murder related to one act, saying he purposely caused the unlawful termination of one of the women's pregnancies. He also was indicted on 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, three counts of felonious assault and one count of possession of criminal tools.

Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty said the indictment covers the period from August 2002, when the first of the women disappeared, to February 2007.

The indictment refers to the women as Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2 and Jane Doe 3 and gives a glimpse into the circumstances of their captivity. The aggravated murder counts stem from the unlawful termination of Jane Doe 1's pregnancy in late 2006 or early 2007, the indictment says.

It says Mr. Castro restrained the women, sometimes chaining them to a pole in a basement, to a bedroom heater or inside a van; when one woman tried to escape, he assaulted her with a vacuum cord around her neck.

Mr. Castro's attorneys have said he would plead not guilty to any indictment. Mr. Castro, during a brief court appearance last month, tried to hide his face and did not speak.

Mr. Castro is being held on $8 million bail. He has been removed from suicide prevention watch, jail officials said this week. He has told jail guards that he won't accept news media interview requests. Messages left for his attorneys after business hours Friday weren't immediately returned. …

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