Castro to plead not guilty to all charges of kidnap, rape

The US man accused of abducting and raping three women at his home for 10 years is to plead not guilty to all charges against him, his lawyers say.

Castro to plead not guilty to all charges of kidnap, rape

Craig Weintraub and Jay Schlachet told a US TV station that Ariel Castro has been portrayed as a “monster” in the media, and after meeting with him they do not see him that way.

Weintraub says it was unfair and offensive that “the media and the community want to demonise this man before they know the whole story”. Schlachet said that details of Castro’s innocence “will be disclosed as the case progresses”.

Weintraub also said Castro “loves dearly” the child he fathered with kidnap victim Amanda Berry while she was held in his house in Cleveland, Ohio.

Castro is charged with kidnapping and raping Ms Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight.

Last week Castro was charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape. The three women kidnapped along with the six-year old girl that Castro fathered with Berry during her captivity, escaped from his home last week.

The news that the three had been held for so long in such a populated neighbourhood stunned the close-knit community.

In an earlier interview with Cleveland’s WKYC television, Weintraub insisted his client was not a “monster”.

“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,” Weintraub said. “I know that family members who have been interviewed by the media have expressed that as well.”

Castro’s brothers, 50-year-old Onil and 54-year-old Pedro, in an interview on Monday with CNN, described their brother as strange and aloof.

“I hope he rots in that jail,” Onil said.

An Ohio prosecutor last week vowed to try to bring murder charges that could carry the death penalty against Ariel Castro.

Those charges would stem from forced miscarriages police say were suffered by one of his victims. The initial police report on the case said that at least five times after impregnating Knight, Ariel Castro starved and beat her in the abdomen to induce miscarriages.

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