CLEVELAND (AP) — A man accused of holding three women captive in his home for about a decade pleaded not guilty today, and the defense hinted that a trial can be avoided with a plea if he escapes the death penalty.
Atty. Craig Weintraub addressed the death-penalty issue after his client, 52-year-old Ariel Castro, pleaded not guilty to hundreds of charges including rape and kidnapping.
Castro, dressed in an orange jail outfit with his hands and ankles shackled, kept his chin tucked on his chest through the brief court appearance. He didn't speak or glance at his two attorneys standing by his side.
Weintraub said the defense was working to avoid an "unnecessary trial" involving the death penalty. Current charges he faces involving an alleged forced miscarriage don't include death-penalty specifications, but the prosecutor says that's under review.
"Mr. Castro currently faces hundreds of years in prison with the current charges," Weintraub said after the arraignment. "It is our hope that we can continue to work toward a resolution to avoid having an unnecessary trial about aggravated murder and the death penalty."