Ariel Castro, 52, is accused of keeping three women imprisoned in his Cleveland home, while maintaining a ‘normal’ life as a bus driver and amateur musician in the community.
Castro denied two counts of aggravated murder related to one act, saying he purposely caused the unlawful termination of one of the women’s pregnancies.
He also denied 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, three counts of felonious assault and one count of possession of criminal tools.
Castro’s defence attorney, Craig Weintraub, indicated after the brief he was working to avoid an “unnecessary trial” involving the death penalty.
Although the charges Castro faces, invcluding an alleged forced miscarriage, do not include death penalty specifications, the prosecutor said that is under review.
Joe Frolik, spokesman for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty, said the defence remarks were under review.
The 329-count indictment returned Friday covered only the period from August 2002, when the first of the women disappeared, to February 2007, and more charges could still be filed.
A statement issued on behalf of the women said days like the arraignment “are not easy” and added: “We are hopeful for a just and prompt resolution. We have great faith in the prosecutor’s office and the court.”
The women were discovered on May 6, after one woman broke through a door and called to neighbours for help.