A man accused of holding three women captive for a decade is facing 329 charges including kidnapping and rape.
A Cuyahoga County grand jury returned the indictment against Ariel Castro, a former school bus driver, last night.
The grand jury charged Castro, of Cleveland, Ohio, with two counts of aggravated murder related to one act, saying he purposely caused the unlawful termination of a pregnancy.
Castro is accused of kidnapping Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight and holding them captive along with a six-year-old girl he fathered with Berry.
He also was indicted on charges including 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping and multiple counts of gross sexual imposition and felonious assault.
Castro’s lawyers have said he would plead not guilty to any indictment.
Lawyers for Ms Berry, Ms DeJesus and Ms Knight said they had “confidence and faith” in the prosecutor’s office and its decisions.
Castro will be appear in court over the charges next week.
Castro, 52, was arrested on May 6, shortly after Ms Berry broke through a door at the home, yelled to neighbours for help and frantically told a police dispatcher by phone: ``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.''
Ms 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. She said she, her baby and the two other women rescued with her had never been to a doctor during their captivity.
Ms 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.
The women had vanished separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old. They have not spoken publicly since their rescue.
County prosecutor Tim McGinty said the indictment covers only the period from August 2002, when the first of the women disappeared, to February 2007.
Mr McGinty said the investigation was continuing and when the indictment process was complete, the county prosecutor’s capital review committee would consider whether the case was appropriate for seeking the death penalty.
Days after the women were rescued from Castro’s home, Mr McGinty said capital punishment “must be reserved for those crimes that are truly the worst examples of human conduct”.
“The law of Ohio calls for the death penalty for those most depraved criminals, who commit aggravated murder during the course of a kidnapping,” he added.
Lawyers for the three women said today they were letting the judicial process unfold in the case.
“We have a great legal system plus confidence and faith in the prosecutor’s office and its decisions,” they said.