CLEVELAND, June 10, 2013 ( – Ariel Castro could land on death row for beating and starving one of the women he kept chained in his basement as sex slaves in order to kill his own unborn children.

Prosecutors indicted 52-year-old Ariel Castro last Friday on 329 charges for kidnapping three women, chaining them to the basement of a Cleveland home, and raping them over the course of roughly a decade.

Among the charges is one count of aggravated murder for “the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy.”

Under state law Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty, who indicated in May that Castro would face murder charges, could seek the death penalty.


One of his victims, Michelle Knight, said Castro caused her to miscarry five children by brutally punching her in the stomach and starving her.

If McGinty prosecutes the statute as a capital crime, Castro could become the first prisoner to be sentenced to death for killing an unborn child.

Police arrested 52-year-old Ariel Castro last month after a daring rescue from the Cleveland home that served as the women's sexual prison.

Amanda 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. Ariel snatched Gina DeJesus, then 14, in 2004 as she walked home from middle school.

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One child, Amanda Berry's six-year-old daughter, Jocelyn, was rescused with the three women. However, many other babies perished due to the Castros' violence, according to prosecutors.

In May, Mark Harrington, director of the Ohio-based pro-life group Created Equal, said people on all side of the abortion issue should support the prosecutor. “Abortion supporters need to join with anti-abortion forces in calling for Castro to be charged with murder under the Ohio Fetal Homicide Law,” he said. “What happened to Ms. Knight is the worst kind of domestic violence. She and her unborn children deserve justice.”

Pro-life activist Keith Mason of Personhood USA also told the decision was “fantastic,” but he felt it embodied a widespread contradiction. Ohio law recognizes the crime of killing a wanted child, although not an unwanted one.

It does not make sense “that we would protect [preborn children] in one circumstance but not the other,” he said.

In addition to the murder charge, Ariel Castro will face 177 counts of rape, 139 counts of kidnapping, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, three counts of felonious assault and one count of possession of criminal tools. The 329 counts cover only a five year period ending in February 2007.

The County Prosecutors Capital Review Committee will determine whether the death penalty is warranted.

McGinty has said he could seek the death penalty “for each act of aggravated murders” Castro committed.


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