CLEVELAND - 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 one of the women to miscarry, which is considered a killing under Ohio law. That charge doesn't include the possible death penalty, but a prosecutor has said that was under review.
The women disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16, and 20. Each said she had accepted a ride from Castro, who remained friends with the family of one girl and even attended vigils marking her disappearance.