Ariel Castro during his arraignment on kidnapping and rape charges on May 9, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio
US prosecutors say they may seek murder charges that could carry the death penalty against a Cleveland man accused of kidnapping three young women and sexually abusing them for over a decade.
The prosecutors said on Thursday that Ariel Castro, 52, may be charged with aggravated murder because he allegedly impregnated the women and then forced them to suffer miscarriages, meaning he terminated the pregnancies by force.
“I fully intend to seek charges for each and every act of sexual violence, rape, each day of kidnapping, every felonious assault, all his attempted murders, and each act of aggravated murder he committed by terminating pregnancies that the offender perpetuated against the hostages during this decade-long ordeal,” Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty told a news conference on Thursday.
“My office will also engage in a formal process in which we evaluate to seek charges eligible for the death penalty,” he said, adding, “This child kidnapper operated a torture chamber and private prison in the heart of our city.”
Castro has already been charged with kidnapping and raping of Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32, who were held captive over the course of a decade in his home in Cleveland, Ohio.
Castro has also been charged with kidnapping in connection with Berry’s six-year-old daughter, Jocelyn, alleged to have been born in captivity.
Earlier on Thursday, he was presented to the Cleveland municipal court on charges of kidnapping and raping the three women, as well as kidnapping the child.
Castro did not enter a plea. On Thursday, he was ordered held on an eight-million-dollar bond, two million dollars in each of the four cases.
The three women, who went missing between 2002 and 2004, were rescued from the Cleveland house on Monday, after one of them broke through a screen door to freedom while Castro was away.
The three were apparently bound with ropes and chains, and subjected to prolonged sexual and psychological abuse and suffered multiple miscarriages.
Ariel Castro, a former school bus driver, reportedly lured the victims into his car on separate occasions and kept their presence in his west Cleveland home a secret for more than a decade.
This article originally appeared on : Press TV