CLEVELAND (AP) — A man accused of holding three women captive in his Cleveland home for about a decade pleaded not guilty Wednesday to hundreds of charges, including rape and kidnapping.
Ariel Castro is charged with kidnapping the three women and keeping them — sometimes restrained in chains — along with a 6-year-old girl he fathered with one of them.
Castro, 52, didn’t speak during the arraignment, which lasted less than a minute. He stood motionless, dressed in an orange prison outfit, and looked toward the floor as the plea was entered.
His attorneys planned to make a statement later Wednesday morning.
The grand jury charged Castro with two counts of aggravated murder related to one act, saying he purposely caused the unlawful termination of one of the women’s pregnancies. He also was indicted on 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, three counts of felonious assault and one count of possession of criminal tools.
The 142-page indictment covers only the period from August 2002, when the first victim disappeared, to February 2007. Prosecutors say the investigation will continue and they are leaving the door open to pursuing a death penalty case against Castro.
News that the women had been found alive electrified the Cleveland area, where two of the victims were household names after years of searches, publicity and vigils. But elation soon turned to shock as allegations about their treatment began to emerge.
The indictment against Castro alleges he repeatedly restrained the women, sometimes chaining them to a pole in a basement, to a bedroom heater or inside a van. It says one of the women tried to escape and he assaulted her with a vacuum cord around her neck.
Later, he moved them to upstairs rooms where they were kept as virtual prisoners, according to investigators.
All the while, Castro continued driving a school bus and playing bass in local bands, with fellow musicians saying they never suspected a thing. He was fired as a bus driver last fall after leaving his bus unattended for several hours.
Castro has been held on $8 million bail, which was continued. Last week he was taken off suicide prevention watch in jail. Cuyahoga County jail logs show him spending most of his time sleeping, lying on his bunk, watching TV and occasionally drawing.
Castro was arrested May 6, shortly after one of the women broke through a door and yelled to neighbors for help.
She told a police dispatcher in a dramatic 911 call: “Help me. I’m Amanda Berry. I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been missing for 10 years, and I’m, I’m here, I’m free now.”
The women — Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight — disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old. Each said they had accepted a ride from Castro, who remained friends with DeJesus’ family and even attended vigils over the years marking her disappearance.
The women haven’t spoken publicly since their rescue.
Berry, 27, told officers that she was forced to give birth in a plastic pool in the house so it would be easier to clean up. Berry said she, her baby and the two other women rescued with her had never been to a doctor during their captivity.
Knight, 32, said her five pregnancies ended after Castro starved her for at least two weeks and “repeatedly punched her in the stomach until she miscarried,” authorities said.
She also said Castro forced her to deliver Berry’s baby under threat of death if the baby died. She said that when the newborn stopped breathing, she revived her through mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
The picture of Castro as a friendly musician began to erode soon after the women were freed, as family members told of a man who terrorized his common-law wife, beating her and locking her in an apartment and the same house where the women were later kept.
Castro’s two brothers were arrested the same day but were released at a hearing a few days later after it was determined they weren’t aware of the activities their brother is accused of. They denounced him in later interviews.
The Associated Press does not usually identify people who may be victims of sexual assault, but the names of the three women were widely circulated by their families, friends and law enforcement authorities for years during their disappearances and after they were found.
I know that our Constitution states that we are innocent until proven guilty, and I know that our laws are basically written (not to protect the innocent) but the guilty. The question is: when is enough, enough? If DNA results prove, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the child born to Amanda Berry is his, then WTF!!!
The scummy lawyers who protect these vermin are getting richer and richer as taxpayers dish out more and more tax dollars each year, and for what? I say that in these open and shut cases, such as the one with the Muslim scum-bag in Boston, where there is NO DOUBT the individuals committed the crimes for which they are charged, the trial should be limited to three (3) days, and after the douche-bags are found guilty they should immediately be fried, hanged, shot, injected (States’ choice) and be done with it! TGO
Refer to story below. Source: The Lookout
Lawyers for Ariel Castro say he’ll plead not guilty to charges of kidnapping and raping three women while holding them captive for a decade in his west Cleveland home.
“The initial portrayal by the media has been one of a ‘monster’ and that’s not the impression that I got when I talked to him for three hours,” Craig Weintraub, one of Castro’s lawyers, told Cleveland’s WKYC-TV late Tuesday.
The 52-year-old is being held on an $8 million bond in Cuyahoga County Jail and is under a suicide watch.
“He doesn’t have a television, doesn’t have radio, doesn’t have magazines, no access to newspapers,” Jaye Schlachet, another Castro lawyer, said. “He’s completely isolated from society.”
Castro is suspected of kidnapping Michelle Knight in 2002, Amanda Berry in 2003 and Gina DeJesus in 2004, and then holding them captive in his west Cleveland home. DNA tests confirm he fathered a daughter with Berry in 2006.
“I can tell you that Mr. Castro is extremely committed to the well-being and positive future for his daughter, who he loves dearly,” Schlachet said. “And if people find that to be a disconnect from what he’s alleged to have done, then the people will just have to deal with it. We just know how he feels about his little girl.”
Castro’s attorneys say that how he came into contact with the women will be revealed “as the case progresses.” And they say they may seek a change of venue to get a fair trial.
“I know the media wants to jump to conclusions, and all the people in the community want to say terrible things about the person who’s accused,” Schlachet added. “We are not even at the beginning of the process. If this was a marathon race, we’re not even at the starting line yet.”
The guy on the left is kidnapper and the other two are his brothers. The kidnapper deserves the worst kind of agonizing pain and suffering which any human being has ever endured. TGO
Refer to story below. Source: Good Morning America
By ALEX PEREZ, MATTHEW JAFFE and ALYSSA NEWCOMB | Good Morning America
The two brothers of accused kidnapper Ariel Castro — who is charged with kidnapping and raping three women for more than 10 years — described him as a “monster” and distanced themselves from the alleged crimes, saying if they had known what was happening behind closed doors, they would have reported it to police.
Castro’s two brothers – Pedro and Onil — were initially taken into custody with their brother but released Thursday after investigators said there was no evidence linking them to the alleged crimes against Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 27.
The brothers told CNN in an exclusive interview that their brother is a “monster” and since they were arrested with him they have received death threats.
“I hope he rots in that jail,” Onil Castro, 50, said. “I don’t even want them to take his life like that. I want him to suffer in that jail to the last extent. I don’t care if they even feed him. What he has done to my life and my family’s.”
“I can’t go nowhere because they think I’m a monster, too, and I’m not,” Pedro Castro, 54, said. “And it just keeps going over and over in my head that people are just thinking that I did this.”
The brothers said they fear people will still believe they are connected to the alleged kidnappings.
“People think Pedro has something to do with this. Pedro don’t have nothing to do with this. If I knew I would have reported it, brother or no brother,” Pedro said.
Pedro said whenever he visited his brother’s home it was filled with background noise.
“If not the radio, the TV. Something had to be on at all time in the kitchen. So, I couldn’t hear nothing else, but the radio or the TV.”
Pedro told CNN he did not visit the home much, but when he did he was not allowed past the kitchen.
Ariel Castro, 52, was arraigned Thursday in an Ohio court on charges of kidnapping and rape. Bond was set at $8 million. He has not entered a plea.
In the early hours of the investigation, Onil and Pedro’s mugshots were distributed along with Ariel’s connecting them to the grisly details behind the imprisonment of the three women and Berry’s 6-year-old daughter, who was fathered by Ariel Castro, DNA tests revealed.
“I could not never think of doing anything like that. If I knew my brother was doing this, in a minute I would call the cops,” Pedro Castro said.
New cellphone video has emerged during the tense moments Cleveland police arrived at Castro’s home and pried open the front door, freeing DeJesus and Knight. The women’s first glimpse of freedom was caught on video by Ashley Colon and Jasmina Baldrich as they were driving down Seymour Street when they noticed the commotion and pulled over.
Moments earlier, Berry and her daughter Jocelyn escaped the home and made that frantic call to 911. Colon and Baldrich saw Berry tell her dramatic story for the first time to arriving police officers.
“We heard everything. She was saying we are in danger. Please protect me and she kept grabbing him,” Colon said. On Sunday, attorneys for the three women issued statements on their behalf thanking authorities and neighbors for support.
Michelle, Amanda and Gina “are extremely grateful for the generous assistance and loving support of their families, friends and the community” and thank authorities “for the tireless efforts of numerous law enforcement officials.” attorney James Wooley said.
Wooley then read statements directly from all three women.
Berry said, “Thank you so much for everything you do and continue to do. I am so happy to be home with my family.”
DeJesus said, “I am so happy to be home and want to thank everybody for all your prayers. I just want time now to be with my family.”
Knight said, “Thank you to everyone for your support and good wishes. I am healthy, happy and safe and will reach out to family, friends and supporters in good time.”
In response to numerous media requests, the attorneys said the women “will not be participating in any interviews” at this time due to the pending criminal investigation and prosecution and, more importantly, Wooley said, because they want privacy “so that they can continue to heal and reconnect with their families.”
How stupid does a person have to be to attend a church where the redneck pictured below is the pastor? Even dressed in a thousand-dollar suit with Italian-made shoes (neither of which they sell at the local Walmart) would this dumb-looking character resemble a man of God; only his actions would demonstrate that. For it is generally men of God who commit the worst crimes against their fellow human beings. Televangelist thieves, Muslim suicide bombers, pedophile priests, etc.
Delinquents have often used the guise of faith and God to get away with murder, sometimes literally. Yet people continue giving these delinquent scumbags their hard-earned money in exchange for “peace with God” and the promise of salvation.
In the end, it all comes down to conscious-money. Christians have been so successfully indoctrinated into believing that they are sinners who will go straight to hell upon their death that they try to buy their way into heaven. Unfortunately these people are too dumb to realize that these places, heaven and hell, do not exist. These are simply necessary components of the make-believe world of faith. Good and evil, reward and punishment, virtue and vice, heaven and hell. The story of Santa Claus is based on this same premise, as he rewards children with toys based on their good behavior. The invisible man in the sky supposedly does the same for adults. Each of these fairy tales is as good as the other, and both are equally untrue. TGO
Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press
LADSON, S.C. (AP) — Dale Richardson was saved at a tent revival 32 years ago, was called to preach the Lord’s word in 2006 and, for the past year, had served as pastor at Freedom Free Will Baptist Church, a modest red brick structure on a South Carolina side road running along a railroad track.
Now he’s in jail, charged with kidnapping and raping three women at gunpoint — two of them in a trailer behind the church — and kidnapping a fourth who was not sexually assaulted.
According to an incident report, about noon on a Saturday last month, Richardson picked up a woman and gave her a ride. When the 20-year-old tried to get out of the car, Richardson allegedly pulled a gun, bound her hands, covered her head and took her to the gray-blue trailer home behind the church.
The report said he later dropped the woman in a wooded area, threatening to shoot her if she turned around. Police said the woman was able to identify Richardson from his picture on the church website, which also displays a short biography detailing how he became a Christian and then a pastor.
Richardson has since been charged with two other similar sexual assaults, both of which occurred last year. He is accused of bringing one of those women to the church trailer. The third woman claims she was raped in a wooded area outside nearby Summerville, a bedroom community about 20 miles northwest of Charleston. He is also charged with kidnapping a fourth woman.
Richardson said little last week when, dressed in a gray and white striped prison jump suit with his ankles and wrists shackled, he appeared before a Dorchester County magistrate on the latest charges. He said he understood the charges against him and was denied bond when the magistrate said he was a danger to society.
Richardson’s public defender said it’s too soon to comment on the case. During his initial bond hearing when he was first arrested, Richardson said he has a spotless record and will put up a strong defense.
Maj. John Garrison of the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office said serial rape cases are unusual in the area. He said this case is drawing particular interest because the suspect is a preacher.
Garrison, then at the Charleston County Sheriff’s Department, helped investigate the so-called Lowcountry serial rapist that attracted national headlines two decades ago. Authorities believe Duncan Proctor, who was convicted of two rapes and burglaries and sentenced to life in prison, may have raped as many as 30 women between March 1990 and June 1992.
Most neighbors on the quiet cul-de-sac where Richardson lived in a neat yellow house refused to talk last week. But Mary Milligan, who lives two doors away, came to Richardson’s defense.
“I don’t believe any of this. I have never had a problem with him. He’s kind. He’s a member of this community. He mows the neighbors’ lawns. I am just blown away by all these accusations,” she said.
There was no one home at the Richardson residence, where a paving stone beside the walkway is inscribed “Believe in God. Believe also in me. John 14:1.”
The church website says Richardson became pastor of the church on June 9, 2010. It says he graduated from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. — the college founded by evangelical preacher Jerry Falwell — and has a wife and two grown daughters.
But his name has now been removed from the sign outside the church that has a congregation of about 50 people. Those attending last Wednesday night’s service who were willing to be interviewed did not condemn Richardson.
“He’s always been a real sweet person. He’s always taught God’s word,” said Virginia Davis, who has been attending the church about a year. “He’s been honest with me since Day 1. I’d let him look me right in the face and tell me he did it, because I don’t believe he did it.”
The Rev. Dean Mandrell, who has been helping by preaching at one of the church’s three weekly services, said the congregation has drawn closer.
“Nobody is leaving, they are staying right here. They are just worshipping God. They are not condemning. They are not tearing down or poor-mouthing or bad-mouthing him,” he said.
Mandrell’s Wednesday sermon was about judging others, based on Matthew’s biblical account of the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus says people with a log in their own eye should not be concerned about the speck in another’s eye.
The South Carolina Free Will Baptist State Association has suspended Richardson’s preaching credentials pending the outcome of the investigations because “the misconduct alleged against him is forbidden by God.” The Rev. Todd Smith, executive director of the statewide association numbering almost 120 churches, said in a statement the association would cooperate with investigators.
“Our prayers are with all involved,” he said.