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 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

Sixteen Afghan Civilians Killed by U.S. Soldier in Shooting Rampage

An American soldier opened fire on villagers near his base in southern Afghanistan Sunday and killed 16 civilians, according to President Hamid Karzai, who called it an “assassination” and furiously demanded an explanation from Washington. Nine children and three women were among the dead.

The killing spree deepened a crisis between U.S. forces and their Afghan hosts over Americans burning Muslim holy books on a base in Afghanistan last month. The Quran burnings sparked weeks of violent protests and attacks that left some 30 dead. Six U.S. service members have been killed by their Afghan colleagues since the burnings came to light, and the violence had just started to calm down.


President Barack Obama phoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai to express his shock and sadness at the killing and wounding of Afghan civilians. He offered condolences to the grieving families of those killed and to the people of Afghanistan.

The attack began around 3 a.m. in two villages in Panjwai district, a rural suburb of Kandahar and a traditional Taliban stronghold where coalition forces have fought for control for years. The villages — Balandi and Alkozai — are about 500 yards (meters) from a U.S. base. The gunman went into three houses and opened fire, said a resident of Alkozai, Abdul Baqi, citing accounts from his neighbors. One villager said eleven of those killed were members of his family, many of them women and children.

The tensions between the two countries had appeared to be easing as recently as Friday, when the two governments signed a memorandum of understanding about the transfer of Afghan detainees to Afghan control — a key step toward an eventual strategic partnership to govern U.S. forces in the country. Sunday’s shooting could push that agreement further away.

Source: Yahoo News

Image: SBS