Suspected kidnapper Ariel Castro pleads not guilty
Ariel Castro in court
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -
The man suspected of kidnapping three women and holding them captive for years inside his west side home made a brief appearance in court Wednesday morning.
With his head hanging down, Ariel Castro went before Judge Deena Calabrese on nearly 330 charges, including murder.
Defense attorneys entered a plea of not guilty for Castro. Castro did not say a word, and was immediately escorted out of the courtroom after the plea was entered.
He will be back in court for a pretrial on June 19. The judge assigned is Judge Michael Russo.
Castro is accused of holding Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus captive in his Seymour Avenue house for years before they were rescued on May 6.
Berry gave birth to his daughter while in captivity.
Jim Wooley, attorney for Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, and speaking on behalf of the third survivor, Michelle Knight, issued a statement:
"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."
The massive indictment against Castro came down late Friday. All three women have been labeled 'Jane Doe,' which is common in sexual assault cases.
The indictment shows Jane Doe #1 was pregnant at least four times, and all four were forced miscarriages.
Prosecutors have charged Castro with one count of rape for every month the women were held against their will. The same for kidnapping.
After the hearing, Castro's attorneys made a statement to the media, but did not field any questions.
The attorneys said they are willing to plead guilty to all the charges, but murder. They are hoping the prosecutors will drop the murder charges so they can avoid a lengthy trial and spare the women from testifying.
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