The accused Cleveland kidnapper, 53-year-old Ariel Castro, was slapped with a slew of new charges on Friday, pending a trial next month. Castro is the man accused of kidnapping three women and holding them captive for nearly ten years. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Ariel Castro Faces 977 Kidnapping and Sexual Abuse Charges
A Cuyahoga County grand jury indicted Ariel Castro on 977 charges Friday, reports NBC News.
Castro now faces 512 counts of kidnapping, 446 counts of rape and seven counts of sexual abuse. Castro is also charged with two counts of aggravated murder, six counts of assault, three counts of child endangerment and one count of possessing criminal tools.
The two aggravated murder charges stem from allegedly beating one of the women, Michelle Knight, so badly, she miscarried a pregnancy. One aggravated murder charge alleges premeditation. The second murder charge alleges that the murder took place during a kidnapping.
2. The Charges Replace an Earlier Indictment
The charges announced Friday replace an earlier indictment, which charged Castro in with 329 counts and covered the first four years of the women’s captivity.
3. The State Could Seek a Death Penalty
Prosecutors held the option of seeking the death penalty for the aggravated murder charges.
4. He Goes on Trial Next Month
Castro is set to go on trial next month.
“Today’s indictment moves us closer to resolution of this gruesome case,” prosecutor Timothy McGinty said. “Our investigation continues, as does our preparation for trial.”
5. Castro has Pleaded Not Guilty