Court hearing set in Cleveland kidnapping case

CLEVELAND (AP) — With a trial date approaching next month, a man accused of holding three women captive for a decade faces another pretrial hearing in Cleveland.

The hearing is scheduled Wednesday morning for 53-year-old Ariel Castro. While appearing in court last week, the arraignment judge scolded him repeatedly to open his eyes and keep his head up.

Castro has pleaded not guilty to nearly 1,000 counts of kidnap, rape and other charges.

The defense says it will go to trial Aug. 5 if the prosecutor doesn’t take the death penalty off the table to clear the way for a plea deal. Castro is charged with aggravated murder in the miscarriage suffered by one woman who was beaten and starved.

The prosecutor hasn’t decided on the death penalty issue.

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