Cleveland kidnap accused to plead not guilty

  • Ariel Castro, the man accused of imprisoning three women for nearly a decade in his Ohio home, is to plead not guilty to all charges, according to his lawyers on Wednesday.

    Castro, 52, has been charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape.

    The charges relate to the kidnap and rape of Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23 and Michelle Knight, 32. It also includes Berry’s daughter, Jocelyn, who was conceived and born six years ago.

    Berry disappeared in 2003 aged 16. DeJesus went missing aged 14 in 2004 and Knight disappeared in 2002, when she was 20.

    Berry managed to escape earlier this month with the help of a neighbor.

    Prosecutors plan to charge Castro with aggravated murder, which carries the death penalty.

    The charges are in relation to alleged miscarriages carried out on one of the victims.

    According to a report by CBS News, Castro confessed to his crimes in a hand-written letter found in the house. Investigators believe it may have been a suicide note.

    The letter, which was written in 2004, details how he had been raped as a child by his uncle and was abused by his parents.

    Castro went on to describe himself a "sexual predator" but also asked for all his money to be donated to his victims after his death.

    Castro is to remain in custody for the duration of the trial as bail was set at $8 million. He is currently being kept in isolation under suicide watch.

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