Ariel Castro Pleads Not Guilty to 329 Counts of Rape, Torture, Murder

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Ariel Castro, the Ohio man charged with keeping three women captive for a decade, has pleaded not guilty to 329 charges of rape, torture and murder.

Silent during his first court appearance since his arrest in May, Castro kept his head down in the courtroom, where attorneys entered a plea for him.

Castro, 52, is accused of kidnapping Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight and imprisoning them, in chains, inside his Cleveland home.

He is also accused of the aggravated murder of a fetus for allegedly forcibly causing an abortion in one of his victims that he is accused of impregnating.

That charge could potentially carry the death penalty.

After the court hearing, Castro lawyer Craig Weintraub told the media that he hoped the two sides could work "towards a resolution to avoid a trial."

The implication was that in order to avoid the death penalty, prosecutors could drop the aggravated murder charge and he'd plead guilty to the rest.

In any case, a grand jury indicted Ariel Castro on 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping, and seven counts of gross sexual imposition today.

Three counts of felonious assault and one count of possession of criminal tools rounded out the list of charges stemming from the disturbing case.

Judge Lauren C. Moore called the charges against him a "hefty indictment" and agreed to his lawyer's request to waive his right to hear the charges aloud.

Castro is accused of kidnapping the women, imprisoning and repeatedly raping them in his home. Amanda Berry, 27, delivered Castro's baby in captivity.

Her daughter is now 6.

Another woman, Michelle Knight, 32, told investigators she became pregnant five times by Castro, but he punched her in the belly until she miscarried.

The women were freed in a dramatic rescue on May 6 when neighbor Charles Ramsey heard Amanda Berry screaming for help behind a closed door.

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