Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man found several months ago to have imprisoned four women he abducted a decade ago and, was charged Friday with an additional 648 criminal counts. Castro now faces 977 charges against him, including one of aggravated murder.
The former Cleveland bus driver’s crimes begin with the abduction of the first woman in 2002. In the following two years, Castro abducted another two women, reports The New York Times.
For the ten years, the women were frequently kept starved, bound by rope or chain and subjected to frequent sexual assaults and beatings.
Castro’s hellish prison was finally exposed after one of his captives, a six year old girl, escaped. She told authorities, who freed the three other women in May. DNA testing showed that the six year old was born of one of the captives.
In a court appearance, the Cleveland man asked the judge permission to visit his daughter from jail. This was immediately denied as “not appropriate.”
Ariel Castro was originally indicted in June on 329 charges, dealing with the first four and a half years of the women’s imprisonment, to which he has already plead not guilty to. Further investigation and crime scene examination since then, has produced additional counts, bringing the total to 977.
One of the charges includes aggravated murder, coming from an incident when Castro beat one woman who had become pregnant to induce at least a miscarriage, reports NBC News. Others concern child endangerment and abuse as well as kidnapping of the child.
Prosecutors also charged Castro with 512 kidnapping counts, 446 rape counts, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, six felony assault counts, and one count involving possession of a Ruger handgun.
The women’s representatives stated that they had declined to make a public statement on the new charges.
Despite the unimaginable horror endured by the four women for nearly a decade, Berry, DeJesus, and Knight recently released a three minute video on YouTube. The video, surprisingly uplifting, included Knight remarking that even though she had “been through hell and back” she is able to move on and live a normal, happy life.
Representatives for the women have said that they would like a speedy resolution to the trial of Cleveland man Ariel Castro, now facing 977 criminal charges.
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