Ariel Castro May Face Death Penalty Over Kidnap Victims’ Miscarriages

Ariel Castro May Face Death Penalty Over Kidnap Victims' MiscarriagesAriel Castro appeared silently in court Thursday, his head down, as he was arraigned on four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape, accused of holding the women captive in his Cleveland home. Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Lauren Moore ordered Castro held on $8 million bond — $2 million for each of the three women and the child born to Amanda Berry before they were freed Monday evening.

‘Aggravated murder’

Hours later, the top prosecutor in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, announced he’d press for more charges — “for each and every act of sexual violence … each day of kidnapping, every felonious assault (and) all his attempted murders.”

Furthermore, Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said he’d try to persuade a grand jury to indict the 52-year-old Castro for “aggravated murder” for the termination of his captives’ pregnancies. He cited a state law that a person can be charged with murder — a conviction that could lead to the death penalty in Ohio — for killing unborn children.

According to an initial incident report obtained by CNN, Michelle Knight said she became pregnant at least five times while in Castro’s 1,400-square-foot home. When that happened, she told investigators, Castro “starved her for at least two weeks, then he repeatedly punched her in the stomach until she miscarried.”

‘Torture chamber’

It is not known how many times, if any, the other two women got pregnant only to miscarry. One of them, Amanda Berry, gave birth to a daughter while in captivity.

“The child kidnapper operated a torture chamber and private prison in the heart of the city,” McGinty told reporters. “The horrific brutality and torture that the victims endured for a decade is beyond comprehension.”

Castro’s own mother is among those trying to make sense of the horror.

“I have a sick son who has done something serious,” she told Univision and Telemundo. “I’m suffering very much. I ask for forgiveness from those mothers; may those girls forgive me.”

Do you think Ariel Castro will receive death penalty for forcing his kidnap victims to miscarry? If you were the kidnap victims’ family, would you be able to forgive Castro?

Source: Greg Botelho and Pamela Brown, CNN

Image: Sport Spyder

India Gang Rape Suspect Commits Suicide

India Gang Rape Suspect Commits SuicideA suspect in the abduction, rape and murder of a student in the Indian capital, Delhi, has been found dead in prison, his lawyer has confirmed. Police say Ram Singh hanged himself in Tihar jail, Delhi, although defence lawyers have questioned this. Ram Singh was one of five men being held in the case. They all deny the charges.

‘Hanged himself’

Tihar jail spokesman Sunil Gupta told the BBC that an inquiry had been ordered into the incident. He said Ram Singh’s body would be taken for a post mortem examination later on Monday. Mr Singh’s death comes as a huge embarrassment for the authorities who are already under enormous pressure over the case, the BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder reports from Delhi.

The website of Indian news channel NDTV, quoting jail officials, said Ram Singh had hanged himself at around 05:00 local time on Monday (23:30 GMT Sunday). Another defence lawyer in the case told the BBC that he had met Ram Singh on Friday during a court hearing and found him in a “happy state of mind”.

‘Death sentence’

Ram Singh and the four other adult defendants – his brother Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur – have been on trial in a fast-track court. They face 13 charges, including murder, gang-rape, kidnapping and destruction of evidence. If found guilty they face the death sentence. The maximum sentence the juvenile would face if convicted would be three years in a reform facility.

The 23-year-old rape victim, who was not named for legal reasons, was with a male friend when she was attacked on a bus and thrown from the vehicle. She died in a Singapore hospital on 29 December from massive internal injuries. Ram Singh was accused of being the driver of the bus.

Do you think justice for the gang rape victim will be served properly? Do you think the remaining suspects will get the death sentence?

Source: BBC News

Image: WYCB