Donna Leinwand Leger, USA TODAY
(Photo: Jason Miller, AP)
Ariel Castro, the 52-year-old former school bus driver accused of holding three Cleveland women captive for more than a decade, faces nearly 1,000 rape, kidnapping and sexual abuse charges as he goes on trial next month.
A Cuyahoga County grand jury indicted Castro on 977 charges Friday, prosecutor Timothy McGinty said.
In addition to the 512 counts of kidnapping, 446 counts of rape and seven counts of sexual abuse, Castro is also charged with two counts of aggravated murder for allegedly beating one of the women so severely that she lost a pregnancy. He also faces six counts of assault, three counts of child endangerment and one count of possessing criminal tools.
The two aggravated murder charges stem from a single instance during the fourth pregnancy of Michelle Knight, who was the first woman to disappear. One aggravated murder charge alleges premeditation. The second murder charge alleges that the murder took place during a kidnapping.
Thank You from Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus & Michelle Knight
Published on Jul 8, 2013
Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight would like to say thank you to people from Cleveland and across the world who have offered support to them. They are extremely grateful for the tremendous outpouring of kindness they have received and wished to put voices and faces to their heartfelt messages with this video.
The women still maintain a strong desire for privacy and ask that everyone continue to respect their wishes in that regard going forward. Thank you.
NOTES ABOUT THE VIDEO THANK-YOU
The video was filmed on July 2, 2013 at the law offices of Jones Day in Cleveland, Ohio. Visible in the background of the video is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. The male off-camera voice heard in the video is that of Howard Fencl (pronounced FEHN-sill), vice president of Hennes Paynter Communications. The attorneys, public relations firm, social media strategist and videographer involved in the production of this video are all working pro bono on behalf of the three women.
For information about the Cleveland Courage Fund, established to help survivors Michelle Knight, Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Amanda’s daughter, please visit http://www.clevelandcouragefund.org.