Ariel Castro to Plead Not Guilty, Lawyers Say He Is Not a Monster

The attorneys for Ariel Castro, the 52-year-old suspect accused of kidnapping and raping three Cleveland women and holding them in captivity for nearly a decade, will plead not guilty, reports the AP. Castro was charged for four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape, for abducting Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus. He is currently being held on $8 million bail.

Attorneys Craig Weintraub and Jay Schlachet told the local station WKYC-TV that the Puerto Rican suspect has been portrayed as a “monster” in the media, and they disagree entirely.

Schlachet explained, “I can tell you that Mr. Castro is extremely committed to the well-being and positive future for his daughter, who he loves dearly,” he continued, “And if people find that to be a disconnect from what he's alleged to have done, then the people will just have to deal with it. We just know how he feels about his little girl.” He also suggested that Castro’s innocence “will be disclosed as the case progresses.”

Meanwhile, more disturbing details have been revealed about the case. A source told Reuters that the victims were treated like “prisoners at war” and that two of the women, DeJesus and Knight, are suffering from hearing loss and joint and muscle damage due to years of abuse.