Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man accused of locking three women in his house and subjecting them to an inhuman and horrific decade of rape, forced pregnancy and starvation has had his bond set at $8 million dollars by Judge Lauren C. Moore of Cleveland City Court.
52 year old Castro is charged with four counts of kidnapping — one for each of the three women and one for a daughter that one woman gave birth to while she was in captivity. The bond figure reflected $2 million for each of the four cases. He has also been also charged with three counts of rape.
Judge Moore also ordered that Castro was to have no contact with any of the victims or their families.
Wearing what appeared to be a dark blue prison jumpsuit Castro looked at the floor for most of the brief arraignment hearing. He did not enter a plea or address the judge. Prosecutor Brian Murphy described the kidnappings as a “horrifying ordeal” and stated that Castro had acted on “premeditated, deliberate and depraved decisions to snatch three young ladies from Cleveland’s West Side streets, to be used in whatever self-gratifying, self-serving way he saw fit.”
Murphy then went on to describe the escape of one woman and the rescue of the other two as miraculous.
Kathleen DeMetz was assigned as Castro’s Public Defender and she said that he would be moved to a county jail. She also said that she expected he would be placed under “extreme protective custody” and probably put on suicide watch.
On Wednesday, as two of the women returned home to jubilant crowds, rejoining their families and beginning to adjust to their life away from Castro, the Cleveland police released a report that listed the horrific details of their captivity.
Castro lured each of the women — Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight — between 2002 and 2004 by offering them rides. The report went on to detail how he chained each of them in the basement before allowing them to live on the second floor of his house.
Michelle Knight told police that Castro had impregnated her at least five times and forced her to miscarry by punching her in the stomach. The report also stated that Knight was forced to deliver Berry’s baby in a kiddie pool six years ago. The baby survived.
Authorities have said that Castro’s two brothers who were arrested Wednesday night were not, thus far, suspected of duplicity in Castro’s offence and that their arrest was for charges unrelated to the kidnappings.
The escape of Amanda Berry has been called daring as she broke part of the way through a storm door on Monday night and screamed for help. Neighbor Chuck Ramsey ran to her rescue and Berry made a frantic 911 call to police for help.
There are many unanswered questions in the kidnappings not least of which are why there were no witnesses and how it was possible that no one else knew that they were being held. The case itself bears an amazing similarity to the Jaycee Lee Dugan case where she was discovered by police in a shed behind Phillip and Nancy Garrido’s house.
Jaycee had been in captivity for 19 years and Dugan fathered two children with her. On June 2, 2011, Phillip Garrido was sentenced to 431 years imprisonment; his wife received 36 years to life.
It remains to be seen if Castro was motivated or inspired by Dugan’s crime or which occurred back in 1991.
By Michael Smith