COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The man accused of holding three women captive in his Cleveland home for about a decade was charged Friday with hundreds of additional counts covering the entire time period of the alleged imprisonment.
The 977-count indictment against Ariel Castro includes charges of rape and kidnapping and two counts of aggravated murder on accusations that Castro starved and punched one of the women while she was pregnant until she miscarried.
The indictment does not include charges that could carry a death sentence, but Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty said he is still reserving that option.
Castro, 53, is charged with kidnapping the three women and holding them captive – sometimes restrained in chains – along with a 6-year-old girl he fathered with one of them.
Castro pleaded not guilty to an earlier 329-count indictment. A message was left with his attorney Friday seeking comment on the new charges.
Castro is charged with two counts of aggravated murder related to one act, saying he purposely caused the unlawful termination of the pregnancy of one of the women. The new indictment also charges him with 512 counts of kidnapping, 446 counts of rape, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, six counts of felonious assault, three counts of child endangerment and one count of possessing criminal tools.
The 576-page indictment covers the period from August 2002, when the first girl disappeared, to May, when the women were rescued. The first indictment covered only the period from August 2002 to February 2007.
“Today’s indictment moves us closer to resolution of this gruesome case,” McGinty said in a statement. “Our investigation continues, as does our preparation for trial.”
News that the women had been found alive electrified the Cleveland area, where two of the victims were household names after years of searches, publicity and vigils. But elation soon turned to shock as allegations about their treatment began to emerge.
The indictment against Castro alleges he repeatedly restrained the women, sometimes chaining them to a pole in a basement, to a bedroom heater or inside a van. It says one of the women tried to escape and he assaulted her with a vacuum cord around her neck.
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