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Ariel Castro pleads not guilty in Ohio kidnap, rape

Ariel Castro appears in a Cleveland courtroom on Wednesday, July 17, 2013.
July 17, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Ariel Castro, accused of holding three women captive for a decade, appeared in a Cleveland courtroom Wednesday, where he pleaded not guilty to nearly 1,000 counts of kidnap, rape and other crimes.

During the hearing, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Pamela Barker repeatedly asked Castro to raise his head and open his eyes during the brief court appearance.

"Mr. Castro, would you please look at me sir? Mr. Castro, I need to make sure you understand what I'm saying," Barker said.

For the most part, the 53-year-old Castro responded to the judge's questions with one-word answers.

Prosecutors have charged Castro with 512 counts of kidnapping and 446 counts of rape. He has been in custody since his arrest on May 6, which came shortly after the women made a daring escape.

Besides kidnapping and rape, the new 977-count indictment also charges him with seven counts of gross sexual imposition, six counts of felonious assault, three counts of child endangerment and one count of possessing criminal tools.

The judge continued his bond at $8 million.

Castro is scheduled for trial on Aug. 5, a date that could be delayed if the defense requests more preparation time. The defense hinted that Castro would plead guilty if the death penalty was off the table.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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