CLEVELAND -- Ariel Castro, the man accused of kidnapping three women andholding them captive inside his Seymour Avenue home for a decade, was back in aCuyahoga County courtroom this morning.
Shackled, handcuffed,and dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, Castrokept 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'squestions with one-word answers of yes or no.
Judge Michael Russo in Cleveland says he's aiming for an August trial forCastro, who was arrested May 6.
The 90-day speedy trial requirement could be waived to allow morepreparation time.Judge Russo also setthe nextpre-trialhearing forJune 26 at 8:45 a.m.
The judge also told prosecutors and defense counsel that if there were to bea plea deal in this case it would need to be a written agreement.
Afterwards, Castro's attorneys told reporters there has been no word fromprosecutors about the possibility of a plea deal.
They reiterated their earlier comments that a plea is possible in thecaseif the death penalty is taken off the table.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty attended the pre-trial hearing andtold the judge that additional evidence is being presented to the grand juryover the next two weeks and that he expects additional charges.
The current indictment involving 329 counts covers the period from 2002 to2007.
Castrois being heldon $8 million bond.
Among the hundreds of charges including more than 100 each of rape andkidnapping, Castro also faces aggravated murder charges for theallegedforced 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 neighborsfor help.