Ariel Castro Now Faces 977 Charges

2:09 PM, Jul 12, 2013   |    comments
Ariel Castro pleads not guilty in his first court appearance June 12, 2013.
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Cleveland, OH (WKYC) -- Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty has released 648 more indictments against accused kidnapper/rapist Ariel Castro.

The Investigator Tom Meyer says Castro is now facing a total of 977 counts that includes one more count of aggravated murder on Nov. 1, 2006 and Feb. 28, 2007, bringing the total to two.

Castro, 53, was indicted June 7, 2013, on 329 counts for the years August 2002 through February 2007.

There were 648 new counts added today. The Investigator Tom Meyer has learned that the unborn fetuses were female.

The three women -- Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight -- escaped May 6, 2013 from his Seymour Avenue home, along with Berry's 6-year-old daughter.

Today's indictments include the time frame from August 2002 through May 6, 2013.

Castro is alleged to have abducted Knight on Aug. 22, 2002, Berry on April 21, 2003 and DeJesus in April 2004.

McGinty released a statement just before 3 p.m.:

A Cuyahoga County Grand Jury has issued a 977-count indictment against Ariel Castro.

Today's indictment covers the entire time period from August of 2002, when the first of three Cleveland women disappeared, until May of this year, when they were discovered in Castro's Seymour Avenue house.

This superseding indictment adds to and encompasses the indictment returned in June that covered only the first four and a half years of the women's captivity. Castro still stands accused of two counts of aggravated murder -- stemming from a single incident involving "the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy ," as covered by Sections 2903.01 (a) and (B) of the Ohio Revised Code. He is also charged with 512 counts of kidnapping, 446 counts of rape, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, six counts of felonious assault, three counts of child endangerment and one count of possessing criminal tools.

"Today's indictment moves us closer to resolution of this gruesome case," said McGinty. "Our investigation continues, as does our preparation for trial." Castro will be arraigned July 17 on the new indictment.

This case will remain assigned to Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Russo. The defendant has demanded that his trial take place within 90 days of arrest, which the law allows him to do.

The state will be ready for the August 5 trial date set by Judge Russo. In the new indictment, the state retains the option of adding a death penalty specification to the aggravated murder charges via another superseding indictment. The prosecutor's Capital Review Committee has not yet completed its evaluation of whether to seek the death penalty in this case.

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