Man accused of kidnapping Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight may face capital murder charges

Ariel Castro, the man accused of kidnapping three women in Cleveland, is being held on suicide watch.

Prosecutors in Cleveland may seek capital murder charges against Ariel Castro, who already has been charged with kidnapping Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Berry’s daughter, and the rape of the three women. The women went missing for about a decade until their rescue this week. Debbi Wilgoren and William Branigin report:

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty told reporters that aggravated murder charges could be filed in connection with miscarriages that police say one of the abducted women suffered when Castro used force to terminate her pregnancies after repeatedly raping her.

“The law of Ohio calls for the death penalty for those most depraved criminals who commit aggravated murder during the course of a kidnapping,” McGinty said at a news conference. He said Castro, who was charged Wednesday with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape, would face justice for every act of sexual violence, assault and other crimes against the women, meaning that there could eventually be hundreds of criminal charges against him. (Read the rest of the article here.)

A judge set Castro’s bail at $8 million. Relatives of Castro’s former wife, Grimilda Figueroa, described him to the Associated Press as having perverted and destructive tendencies:

Figueroa’s relatives said Castro savagely beat her, pushing her down a flight of stairs, breaking her nose and dislocating her shoulder, among other injuries. Her sister, Elida Caraballo, said Castro once shoved Figueroa into a cardboard box and closed the flaps over her head.

“He told her, ‘You stay there until I tell you to get out,’” said Caraballo, who cried as she recounted her late sister’s torment. “That’s when I got scared and I ran downstairs to get my parents.”

Castro, to frighten his wife, kept a mannequin wearing a dark wig propped up against a wall and sometimes drove around the neighborhood with it, relatives said.

“He threatened me lots of times with it,” said Angel Caraballo, Castro’s nephew, who used to play with his cousins at the house where the kidnapped women were found. “He would say, ‘Act up again, you’ll be in that back room with the mannequin.’” (Read the rest of the article here.)

For past coverage of the case of DeJesus, Knight and Berry, continue reading here.

Max Ehrenfreund is a blogger on the Financial desk and writes for Know More and Wonkblog.
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