Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 July 2015

Cleveland house of horror accused Ariel Castro in court with head bowed

By NIKHIL KUMAR IN CLEVELAND

Published 10/05/2013 | 04:20

Ariel Castro stands with his head down during his arraignment on kidnapping and rape charges on May 9
Ariel Castro stands with his head down during his arraignment on kidnapping and rape charges on May 9
Amber Berry, right, hugs her sister Beth Serrano after being reunited in a Cleveland hospital Monday May 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Family Handout courtesy WOIO-TV)
Police arrested three brothers, including Onil Castro, accused of holding the victims against their will (AP/Cleveland Police Department)
Police arrested three brothers, including Pedro J Castro, accused of holding the victims against their will (AP/Cleveland Police Department)
Police arrested three brothers, including Ariel Castro, accused of holding the victims against their will (AP/Cleveland Police Department)
Cleveland Police stand outside a home where they say missing women, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight were found in the 2200 block of Seymour Avenue in Cleveland on Monday, May 6, 2013. The three women who went missing about a decade ago were found alive in a residential area just south of downtown, and a man was arrested. (AP Photo/Plain Dealer, Scott Shaw)
FILE - In this Friday, March 3, 2004 file photos shows Felix DeJesus, holding a banner showing his daughter's photograph, standing by a memorial in his living room in Cleveland. Cleveland police say two women who went missing as teenagers about a decade ago have been found alive in a residential area about two miles south of downtown. Cheering crowds gathered Monday night on the street near the home where police say Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and a third woman were found earlier in the day. The identity of the third woman hasn't been confirmed. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
Tasheena Mitchell, cousin of Amanda Berry celebrates outside of MetroHealth Medical Center after Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight were found in a house on Seymour Avenue in Cleveland, Monday, May 6, 2013. The three women who went missing about a decade ago were found alive in a residential area just south of downtown, and a man was arrested. (AP Photo/The Plain Dealer, Gus Chan)
CLEVELAND, OH, - MAY 07: The smashed front door of the house where, on Monday, three women who had disappeared as teenagers approximately ten years ago were found alive on May 7, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. Amanda Berry, who went missing in 2003, Gina DeJesus, who went missing in 2004, and Michele Knight, who went missing in 2002, were all found alive in the same house. Three suspects, all brothers, have been taken into custody. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Police and FBI congregate outside a house on Cleveland's west side Monday, May 6, 2013 where police say three women were found. The women who went missing separately about a decade ago, when they were in their teens or early 20s, were found alive Monday in a residential area just south of downtown, and three people were arrested. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
CLEVELAND, OH, - MAY 07: A general view of the exterior of the house where, on Monday, three women who had disappeared as teenagers approximately ten years ago were found alive on May 7, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. Amanda Berry, who went missing in 2003, Gina DeJesus, who went missing in 2004, and Michele Knight, who went missing in 2002, were all found alive in the same house. Three suspects, all brothers, have been taken into custody. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 7: FBI agents remove evidence from the house where three women who had disappeared as teenagers approximately ten years ago, were found alive on Monday May 7, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. Amanda Berry, who went missing in 2003, Gina DeJesus, who went missing in 2004, and Michelle Knight, who went missing in 2002, were all found alive in the same house. Three suspects, all brothers, have been taken into custody. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Investigators at a house in Cleveland where police say three women were found (AP/Mark Duncan)

Hands cuffed, his chin buried in the collar of his dark blue jumpsuit, Ariel Castro kept his head down as a Cleveland judge held the 52-year-old on an $8m bond after prosecutors charged him with kidnapping and raping three women and holding a young child, during a decade in which he used his house as a prison.

Castro was brought before Judge Lauren Moore at Cleveland Municipal Court early yesterday morning after Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, Gina DeJesus and Ms Berry's daughter, who was born in captivity, escaped from the suspect's home at 2207 Seymour Avenue. The women were freed after neighbours heard Ms Berry's cries.

"The charges against Mr Castro are based on premeditated, depraved and deliberate decisions to snatch three young ladies on Cleveland's west-side streets to be used in whatever self-gratifying [and] self-serving way he saw fit," Brian Murphy, a county prosecutor lawyer told Judge Moore.

Mr Murphy added: "While in captivity they withstood repeated beatings.

"They were bound and restrained and sexually assaulted, basically never free to leave this residence.

"That's a home that served as Mr Castro's residence but his prison to these three women and eventually [the] child. Today the situation has changed... Mr Castro stands before you captive."

The proceedings lasted minutes, with Judge Moore swiftly setting bail at $2m for each of the four cases concerning the three women and the child.

Shortly before Castro, a former bus driver and musician, was arraigned, his brothers – 54-year-old Pedro and 50-year-old Onil – faced the court on unrelated misdemeanour charges. They had been taken into custody with their brother earlier in the week as investigators probed the circumstances surrounding the kidnapping.

Meanwhile, new allegations of the horrors endured by the three kidnap victims continued to emerge.

The child which was found at the property was born in a plastic pool. Ms Knight acted as midwife, with Castro threatening her with death if the child didn't survive.

The police report also states that Ms Knight told officers that she had been impregnated by Castro at least five times.

On each occasion, he is alleged to have starved her and beaten her to induce a miscarriage.

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