Ariel Castro, 52, the man accused of holding three girls hostage for more than a decade at his property in Cleveland Ohio has appeared in court. Castro stands charged with 139 counts of rape, 177 of kidnap and two of aggravated murder. In total there are 329 counts against him and his indictments make for 142 pages of grim reading.
The murder charges relate to unborn babies, one of his captives was carrying. She miscarried after allegedly being abused by Castro. According to the BBC:
Defence lawyer Craig Weintraub said after Wednesday's hearing: "Mr Castro currently faces hundreds of years in prison with the current charges. "It is our hope that we can continue to work toward a resolution to avoid having an unnecessary trial about aggravated murder and the death penalty."
Castro is being held in custody on $8m (£5m) bail. He was taken off suicide watch last week. His defense team have hinted at a plea bargain if the murder charges are dropped.
The women Castro held captve, after giving them a lift in his car, are Michelle Knight, 32, Amanda Berry, 27, and Gina DeJesus, 23.
You have to wonder how this man can even consider pleading not guilty, after being caught red-handed. He said nothing in court Wednesday but stood with his head bowed. Does he feel any guilt for holding the young women captive, for around a decade and abusing them, or are their accusations a pack of lies?
We must let justice run its course but it is hard not to have already formed the opinion that this man is guilty and deserves at least a life sentence in jail.
Ohio suspect, Ariel Castro, will deny all charges in court
Cleveland kidnapper, Ariel Castro, makes first court appearance