CLEVELAND -- Ariel Castro, the man accused of kidnapping three women and
holding them captive inside his Seymour Avenue home for a decade, was back in a
Cuyahoga County courtroom this morning.
Shackled, handcuffed, and dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, Castro
kept his eyes down or closed through the entire 10 minute hearing.
For the first time, we did get to hear him speak as he answered the judge's
questions with one-word answers of yes or no.
Judge Michael Russo in Cleveland says he's aiming for an August trial for
Castro, who was arrested May 6.
The 90-day speedy trial requirement could be waived to allow more
preparation time. Judge Russo also set the next pre-trial
hearing for June 26 at 8:45 a.m.
The judge also told prosecutors and defense counsel that if there were to be
a plea deal in this case it would need to be a written agreement.
Afterwards, Castro's attorneys told reporters there has been no word from
prosecutors about the possibility of a plea deal.
They reiterated their earlier comments that a plea is possible in the
case if the death penalty is taken off the table.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty attended the pre-trial hearing and
told the judge that additional evidence is being presented to the grand jury
over the next two weeks and that he expects additional charges.
The current indictment involving 329 counts covers the period from 2002 to
Castro is being held on $8 million bond.
Among the hundreds of charges including more than 100 each of rape and
kidnapping, Castro also faces aggravated murder charges for the alleged
forced termination of one of the women's pregnancies.
The three women, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight,
were rescued on May 6 after Berry kicked out a door and ran to the neighbors