Ariel Castro pleads not guilty; defense hints at no trial

5:54 PM, Jun 12, 2013   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight found alive

Complete Coverage - Click Here

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 




Psychic responds: Sylvia Browne makes statement on Amanda Berry case

Officer’s story: Police recount finding Amanda, Gina, and Michelle

Investigator: How Castro spends his time behind bars

Investigator: Castro says he loves his daughter

911 Call: Help me I'm Amanda Berry

Dispatch tapes: "We found them!"

How to help: Charitable fund set up for missing girls

Police audio: Police audio reveals how officers found women

DeJesus homecoming: Gina gives a thumbs up

Amanda Berry homecoming: Family thanks community

Charles Ramsey: Neighbor tells how he helped rescue Amanda Berry

Charles Ramsey: Listen to 911 call that led to Amanda Berry rescue

Police: Amanda is the real hero here




CLEVELAND --  Ariel Castro entered a plea of not guilty to 329 criminal counts during a very brief court arraignment this morning.

Afterwards, his defense team hinted a trial could be avoided with a plea if the possibility of the death penalty is removed.

Handcuffed and dressed in an orange prison jump suit, Castro kept his head down and his eyes averted during the proceeding that lasted about one minute.

Castro did not speak during the court hearing. His lawyer entered the not guilty plea on Castro's behalf. 

The judge continued Castro's bond at $8 million.

Castro also waived the reading of the indictment which could have made for a much longer court proceeding.  He is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on June 19.  The case has been assigned to Judge Michael Russo.

A grand jury indicted Castro June 7 on the  329 counts, including aggravated murder, kidnapping and rape.

Photos: Cleveland women found alive

The aggravated murder charges, prosecutors say, are connected to Castro's alleged termination of one of the women's pregnancies. 

Following the arraignment, Castro's attorney, Craig Weintraub, made the following statement about the charges against his client and specifically the charge of aggravated murder:

"The arraignment marks the first step in the formal legal process. Although certain charges in the indictment cannot be disputed, a not guilty plea at this stage requires the prosecutor to continue to evaluate their case to determine whether medical and forensic evidence can actually support an aggravated murder conviction, for the death of a fetus, and whether the death penalty is warranted. In all likelihood the prosecutor's decision will be predicated on the opinion of medical and forensic experts, and more importantly, whether the women in this case want this case to go to trial on those limited issues. We are very sensitive to the emotional strain and impact that a trial would have on the women, their families and this community. Mr. Castro currently faces hundreds of years in prison with the current charges and it is our hope that we can continue to work towards a resolution to avoid having an unnecessary trial about aggravated murder and the death penalty."

The prosecutor's office says it's reviewing the defense comments.

Jim Wooley, attorney for Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, and speaking on behalf of the third survivor, Michelle Knight, issued this statement following the court hearing:

"We understand the legal process needs to run its course. That said, days like today are not easy. We are hopeful for a just and prompt resolution. We have great faith in the prosecutor's office and the court."

Castro is accused of kidnapping Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight and holding them captive in his Seymour Avenue home for a decade.

The women were rescued on May 6, after Amanda Berry managed to break out of the house and run to the neighbors for help.

Prosecutor's say they expect Castro to be indicted on additional charges.  The current indictment covers just the period from 2002 to 2007.


Most Watched Videos