Johanna Dasteel


Cleveland kidnapper will face murder charges for forced abortions: prosecutor

Johanna Dasteel

CLEVELAND, OH, May 9, 2013 ( – The prosecutor in the case against Ariel Castro, the man arrested for holding captive one child and three women who were missing for a decade, has said he will be charging Castro for murder as well. 

Castro was jailed this week for the kidnapping and rape of Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus.  He also held Berry’s child – now six – captive. 

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty says that the victims have alleged that Castro starved and beat their abdomens after he had impregnated them, causing miscarriages.  One of the victims, Michelle Knight, says Castro impregnated her five times, which ended each time in miscarriages resulting from Castro’s mistreatment.

As reported earlier this week, police have been digging in Castro's back yard for the bodies of "possible aborted babies."

McGinty said he will seek charges for "each act of aggravated murder he committed by terminating pregnancies.”

Pro-life activist Keith Mason said it is “fantastic” that Castro will be held accountable for all of his crimes, including apparently murdering his unborn children.

“I hope that we can find a way to fix the hypocrisies in our laws.  It makes perfect sense,” he added. “What doesn’t make sense is that we would protect [preborn children] in one circumstance but not the other.” 

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Mason’s group, Personhood USA, works to protect all human beings – including preborn children, as persons under the law.

Personhood USA is currently in the midst of a campaign called The Brady Project to pass a fetal homicide law in Colorado to protect preborn victims of murder, much like the Ohio law that prosecutors are applying to bring justice to Castro’s victims. 

Castro’s bail is set at $8 million.  He did not enter a plea.

On Monday night, an intensive 10-year search came to an end when neighbors heard Amanda Berry screaming through the locked door of a residence where authorities Castro kept Berry and two other women chained, repeatedly raping and impregnating them.

A local man and woman gave Berry a cell phone while Charles Ramsey kicked in the door.

"Help me. I'm Amanda Berry," she said. "I've been kidnapped, and I've been missing for 10 years. And I'm here. I'm free now.”

When officers arrived, they found three victims and Berry's child.

Police and family thought they would never see any of the women again. Berry was kidnapped April 21, 2003 – one day before her 17th birthday – after getting a ride home from her job at Burger King.

Michele Knight was kidnapped in 2002 at the age of 20. The brothers snatched Gina DeJesus, then 14, in 2004 as she walked home from middle school.

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