June 12 - The Ohio man accused of kidnapping three young women and holding them captive in his Cleveland home for a decade pleaded ''not guilty'' to several hundred charges that include rape and aggravated murder. Katharine Jackson reports.
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Ariel Castro hangs his head in a Cleveland courtroom on Wednesday. Accused of kidnapping three young women, holding them captive in his Cleveland home for a decade, he faces hundreds of charges that include rape and aggravated murder. SOUNDBITE (English) ATTORNEY FOR ARIEL CASTRO JAYE SCHLACHET SAYING: "We would like to enter a plea of not guilty." The indictment describes 329 criminal counts against Castro in connection with the imprisonment of 23-year-old Gina DeJesus, 32-year-old Michelle Knight, 27-year-old Amanda Berry...and includes details of how the women were restrained, one chained to a pole in the basement, her legs and mouth taped. The former school bus driver is charged with aggravated murder in assaulting and impregnating Knight and forcing her to miscarry. A not guilty plea is a starting point in the legal process, says Castro's attorney Craig Weintraub. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ATTORNEY FOR ARIEL CASTRO, CRAIG WEINTRAUB, SAYING: "Although certain charges in the indictment cannot be disputed, a not guilty plea at this stage requires the prosecutor to continue to evaluate their case and determine whether medical and forensic evidence can actually support an aggravated murder conviction for the death of a fetus and whether the death penalty is warranted." The women were freed in May after Berry escaped from the home and called 911. Police say DNA tests prove Castro is the father of Berry's 6-year-old daughter. A committee is reviewing whether the 52-year-old Castro could face the death penalty.
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