CLEVELAND — An Ohio man accused of murder, rape and holding three women in a Cleveland house against their will pleaded not guilty on Wednesday.
Lawyers at an arraignment for Ariel Castro, 52, entered the plea on their client’s behalf at his brief arraignment in a Cleveland courtroom after he was indicted last week on 329 counts.
Castro wore an orange jumpsuit, kept his head bowed and didn’t speak. His attorneys told CNN affiliate WKYC in a recent exclusive interview that he had intended to make that plea.
“I know the media wants to jump to conclusions and all the people in the community want to say terrible things about the person who’s accused,” attorney Jaye Schlachet told the network.
“We are not even at the beginning of the process. If this was a marathon race, we’re not even at the starting line yet.”
Castro’s case has attracted national attention because of the unusual length and depravity of the alleged crimes.
“The horrific brutality and torture that the victims endured for a decade is beyond comprehension,” said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty.
Two counts accuse Castro of aggravated murder for purposely causing the unlawful termination of a pregnancy.
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