CLEVELAND (AP) — A man accused of holding three women captive in his home for about a decade pleaded not guilty Wednesday to hundreds of rape and kidnapping charges, and the defense hinted at avoiding a trial with a plea deal if the death penalty were ruled out.
The death penalty is in play because among the accusations facing Ariel Castro, 52, is that he forced a miscarriage by one of the women, which is considered a killing under Ohio law. That charge doesn’t include a possible death penalty, but a prosecutor has said that’s under review.
Attorney Craig Weintraub acknowledged afterward that “certain charges in the indictment cannot be disputed” and said the defense was working to avoid an “unnecessary trial” with a possible death penalty sentence.
The prosecutor’s office will look at the defense remarks but had no immediate comment, said Joe Frolik, spokesman for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty.