Saturday, August 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

What's next for Ariel Castro?

Case to go to grand jury, death penalty possible, expedited DNA testing

The man accused of abducting three Cleveland women and holding them captive for nearly a decade could face additional charges and potentially the death penalty. Here's what's next in the proceedings for 52-year-old Ariel Castro:

The Ohio Attorney General's Office said in a statement today that Castro is the father of the 6-year-old girl born to one of the women held in captivity. The child, the daughter of Amanda Berry, was also rescued from the home where the three women were held earlier this week.

His DNA was also compared to samples taken in other Ohio cases, but no matches were found.

Authorities say the Ohio state crime lab received a sample of Castro's DNA on Thursday and expedited testing to see if he is linked to any other crimes, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

The normal turnaround for DNA testing is 22 days, but the lab can complete its work in 24 to 48 hours if necessary, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine told the newspaper.

Officials are still waiting to see if Castro's DNA matches samples from national cases in the FBI's database.

Prosecutors say they intend to seek additional charges against Castro in the kidnappings and assaults on Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, who all vanished in separate disappearances about a decade ago, when they were in their teens or early 20s.

"Based on the facts, I fully intend to seek charges for each and every act of sexual violence, rape, each day of kidnapping, every felonious assault, all his attempted murders and each act of aggravated murder he committed by terminating pregnancies that the offender perpetuated against the hostages during this decade-long ordeal," Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty said at a news conference.

Multiple Cleveland news outlets reported that a police report says one of the women became pregnant multiple times while she was held captive; Castro beat and starved her to force a miscarriage.

McGinty said Ohio law allows his office to seek the death penalty for murders committed during a kidnapping and he would evaluate whether to pursue such charges.

Castro was arraigned Thursday on charges of kidnapping and rape. His bond is set at $8 million.

"This child kidnapper operated a torture chamber and private prison in the heart of our city," McGinty said.

Prosecutors will now present the case to a grand jury, he said.

Castro was arrested Monday after Berry, now 27, escaped and called 911. DeJesus is now 23 and Knight is 32. Berry's daughter, born while she was in captivity, was also rescued from Castro's home.

Castro has been placed in "administrative segregation" at the Cuyahoga County Jail, which means he does not have contact with other inmates, WEWS reports. He is under suicide-prevention watch, a source told the television station.


Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or ebabay@philly.com. Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

Emily Babay Philly.com staff
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected