The man who mercilessly tortured and raped three Cleveland women in his basement for years may face death penalty charges in his trial.
The offender, Ariel Castro, is currently being held on $8 million bond. He has already been charged with rape and kidnapping, but prosecutors says they will pursue aggravated murder charges against Castro as well. The murder charges stem from victim testimony that Castro forced his victims to terminate pregnancies while in captivity.
One victim, Michele Knight, told detectives that Castro impregnated her five times while she was locked in his home. Each time she became pregnant, Castro starved and beat Knight until she miscarried. Fellow victim Amanda Berry is the only exception to Castro’s forced miscarriages. One of her pregnancies was carried out in full. She gave birth to a child – now six years old – in Castro’s basement.
"This child kidnapper operated a torture chamber and private prison in the heart of our city," said prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty.
McGinty added that he will pursue charges for each count of rape and assault the victims can recall.
Fellow prosecutor Brian Murphy said that Castro’s crimes were “premeditated, deliberate and depraved decisions to snatch three young ladies from Cleveland's west side streets to use for whatever self-gratifying, self-serving ways that he saw fit.” He also said the women were forced to deal with “a "horrifying ordeal for more than a decade" in which they had been "bound, restrained and sexually assaulted.”
Castro appearance in court today was his first since being arrested on Monday.