UK & World News

  • 26 July 2013, 14:40

Ariel Castro May Get Life In Kidnap Plea Deal

Prosecutors in Ohio look likely to offer Ariel Castro a plea deal that would see him escape a death sentence in return for life in prison.

The 53-year-old, who is accused of holding three women captive for more than a decade at his Cleveland home, would have no chance of parole.

The sentence would come with an additional thousand years.

Castro has pleaded not guilty to nearly 1,000 counts, including two charges of aggravated murder, relating to claims that he punched and starved one woman until she miscarried.

He is also charged with hundreds of counts of kidnapping, rape and assault.

"My understanding is that the parties have discussed possible pleas and that you're working to see if that would be an effective resolution, is that correct?" judge Michael Russo asked at a brief hearing on Wednesday.

Both sides responded "yes" without elaboration and then left the courtroom.

Castro is due back in court on Friday morning.

The plea deal would eliminate the need for a trial, slated to begin on August 5.

It would also spare the three victims - Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight - from having to testify publicly about their ordeal.

The three women disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old. Each said they had accepted a ride from Castro.

They escaped on May 6 when one of them kicked out part of a door and called to neighbours for help.

Castro was arrested within hours.