Ohio Prosecutor May Seek Death Penalty For Cleveland Kidnapper Ariel Castro
Prosecutors in the case of Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man who kidnapped and tortured three young women for a decade, announced this week that they might pursue murder charges and possibly the death penalty in the case. The murder charges stem from incidents where Castro reported punched one of his pregnant victims in the abdomen until she miscarried.
Purposeful and unlawful termination of a pregnancy is grounds for an aggravated murder charge in Ohio, an even more serious charge than murder.
Castro is currently charged with four counts of kidnapping (for the three young women and a young child born to one of them in captivity) and rape. But Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty made clear that he intends to charge Castro for every single crime committed over the ten year period:
“Based on the facts, I fully intend to seek charges for each and every act of sexual violence, rape, each day of kidnapping, every felonious assault, all his attempted murders and each act of aggravated murder he committed by terminating pregnancies that the offender perpetuated against the hostages during this decade-long ordeal (in violation of the Ohio code),” McGinty said.
Even without the capital charges, these crimes could total in the thousands. If convicted but not sentenced to death, Castro could still be facing a prison term of hundreds of years (a de facto life sentence).
Ariel Castro, 52, allegedly kidnapped Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, and Gina DeJesus along a main thoroughfare in Cleveland from 2002 to 2004, and detained, raped, and tortured them in his home. A child was born in 2006. All of the prisoners escaped last week when Castro left a door unlocked, and they were able to alert neighbors.