Ariel Castro Pleads Not Guilty In Cleveland Kidnapping Case, Faces 329 Charges

Ariel Castro has pled not guilty to all 329 counts of rape and kidnapping. Castro held three women against their will for more than a decade.

Castro currently faces charges for restraining the three women and a 6-year-old girl he fathered with one of his victims.

The kidnappers arraignment lasted less than a minute, and the 52-year-old did not speak as his attorney entered the not guilty plea. Dressed in prison oranges Ariel Castro looked at the floor as his plea was entered.

Along with his kidnapping and rape charges, Castro has been charged with two counts of aggravated murder after he unlawfully terminated one of the women’s pregnancies. One victim, Michelle Knight, claims that she had five pregnancies that ended in miscarriage after she was starved and repeatedly punched in the stomach.

Among his charges are 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.

The laundry list of charges is so long that it constitutes 142 pages of legal documentation. Castro kidnapped his first victim in August 2002 and took his last victim on February 2007.

Prosecutors say more charges could arrive and they have left open the option for a death penalty charge.

During their captivity the women were often chained to a pole in the kidnappers basement, to a bedroom heater, and, in several cases, inside his van.

At one point, one of the kidnapped woman attempted to escape, and Ariel Castro allegedly strangled her with a vacuum cord to teach her a lesson.

After his victims were held captive for a long period of time, Castro moved them to upstairs bedrooms where they were kept as prisoners under his watchful eye.

Castro will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars; he is currently being held in jail with an $8 million bail.

Castra was arrested on May 6 when one of the women broke free from the home and called 911. During her call, the woman pleaded with a dispatcher:

“Help me. I’m Amanda Berry. I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been missing for 10 years, and I’m, I’m here, I’m free now.”

Ariel Castro’s trial date has not been set at this time.