Ariel Castro pleads not guilty to 977 charges in Cleveland kidnappings
Former Cleveland school bus driver Ariel Castro on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to 977 criminal charges stemming from the abduction and imprisonment over about a decade of three women and the birth of a child to one of them during that time.
A grand jury on Friday added 648 charges to a previous indictment against Castro, who is accused of abducting the first of the women in August 2002 and holding them captive until they escaped his home on May 6 with a 6-year-old girl he fathered during her mother's captivity.
An attorney for Castro, 53, entered the not-guilty plea during a brief arraignment before Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Pamela Barker, who kept in place an $8 million bond and order that Castro not be allowed to see his daughter.
Gina DeJesus, 23; Michelle Knight, 32; and Amanda Berry, 27, had been missing for around a decade. Officials have said that they were kept bound for periods of time in chains or rope and that they endured starvation, beatings and repeated sexual assaults.