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Cleveland Kidnapping Update: Ariel Castro could face death penalty, prosecutor says

Kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro, accused in the abduction of three women recently freed in Cleveland, Ohio, is seen in a mugshot photo, May 9, 2013. Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department

Kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro, accused in the abduction of three women recently freed in Cleveland, Ohio, is seen in a mugshot, May 9, 2013.
Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department

(CBS/AP) CLEVELAND - An Ohio prosecutor said Thursday he may seek the death penalty for Ariel Castro, citing forced miscarriages by the man accused of kidnapping and raping and kidnapping three women - Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32 - and keeping them captive for a decade a his Cleveland home.

PICTURES: Ohio women missing for nearly a decade found alive

The horrors the women suffered began to come to light, including the birth of a surviving child in an inflatable pool.

Investigators say the women - lured into Castro's car at the ages of 14, 16 and 20 - endured lonely, dark lives inside a dingy home where they were raped and allowed outside only a handful of times in disguises while walking to a garage steps away.

Authorities say the women had multiple forced miscarriages. Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said Thursday state law calls for the death penalty for the "most depraved criminals who commit aggravated murder during the course of a kidnapping."

He said aggravated murder charges could be filed related to pregnancies terminated by force. 

In Ohio, aggravated murder charges can be brought related to an unlawful termination of another's pregnancy if the act is committed, purposely, and with prior calculation and design or in the commission of a kidnapping, rape, robbery or other crimes, according to state law.

At a Thursday morning arraignment, assistant county prosecutor Brian Murphy said Castro used the women "in whatever self-gratifying, self-serving way he saw fit." Police say the women were apparently bound by ropes and chains at times in the house and were kept in different rooms.

The Plain Dealer in Cleveland reported Thursday that one of the women, Amanda Berry, gave birth to her daughter in an inflatable swimming pool.

Investigators say the women - lured into Castro's car at the ages of 14, 16 and 20 - endured lonely, dark lives inside a dingy home where they were raped and allowed outside only a handful of times in disguises while walking to a garage steps away.

A police report obtained by CBS said Castro forced another of his alleged captives, Michelle Knight, to deliver the baby and threatened to kill her if the infant did not survive. The baby stopped breathing, and Knight resuscitated the child by breathing into her, the report said.

The women, now in their 20s and 30s, vanished separately between 2002 and 2004.

They never saw a chance to escape over the last 10 years until this week, when Berry broke through a door and ran to freedom, alerting police who rescued the other two women while Castro was away from the house.

Castro has been charged with four counts of kidnapping - covering the captives and the child - and three counts of rape, against all three women.

  • Crimesider Staff

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