Alleged Cleveland kidnapper pleads not guilty
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Last Updated: Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 20:33
  
Ohio: A Cleveland man accused of holding three young women captive for a decade pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges of kidnapping, rape and murder for beating one pregnant captive until she miscarried.

Ariel Castro, 52, could face the death penalty if convicted of the aggravated murder charge, which is a capital offense in Ohio if it occurs in connection with a kidnapping.

Castro's lawyer entered the plea on his behalf in a brief arraignment. He shuffled into the courtroom in an orange prison jumpsuit with his head bowed and did not say a word.

The stunning case came to light after Amanda Berry, 27, managed to escape with her six-year-old daughter by calling out to a neighbour for help through a locked front door.

Police found two more women huddled in the house: Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32. All three had been snatched in separate incidents in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Ariel Castro, 52, could face the death penalty if convicted of the aggravated murder charge, which is a capital offense in Ohio if it occurs in connection with a kidnapping.

Most US states have foetal homicide laws which allow prosecutors to punish those who harm pregnant women while also protecting the woman's right to carry out a lawful abortion.

Kidnapping and rape are not capital offenses despite the horrifying ordeal imposed on the three women who were snatched off the street with a promise of a ride home at the ages of 14, 16 and 20.

AFP


First Published: Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 20:33


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