Discuss as:

Ariel Castro pleads not guilty to 329 charges in Cleveland kidnappings

Cleveland kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro enters a not guilty plea at his arraignment hearing. He faces charges that he kidnapped and raped three Ohio women while holding them captive in his home for nearly a decade.

Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man accused of abducting three women and torturing them during a decade of captivity, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to 329 criminal counts, including kidnapping and rape.

Castro entered the plea at a brief hearing. He bowed his head the entire time.

The women — Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight — escaped May 6 after Berry broke through a storm door and screamed for help while Castro was out of the house.

The 329 counts in an indictment of Castro include aggravated murder because a prosecutor says Castro caused the unlawful termination of a pregnancy. Knight told investigators that Castro impregnated her and forced her to miscarry.

Other charges in the indictment include rape, gross sexual imposition and assault. The prosecutor, Timothy McGinty of Cuyahoga County, has said that the indictment only covers August 2002 to February 2007.

McGinty has said that he may seek the death penalty.

Castro, 52, was ordered held last month on $8 million bond. His two brothers were arrested with him but were later cleared of involvement in the kidnappings and released.

The judge set the next hearing for June 19.

This story was originally published on