Ariel Castro, the man accused of holding three Cleveland women captive in his home for a decade, is expected in court Friday as rumors of a plea that would help him avoid the death penalty perk up.
The prosecution has offered a deal that would give Castro life in prison without patrol with an additional 1,000 years, NBC News reported late Thursday
. The terms were expected to come to light during a 10 a.m. pretrial conference on Friday in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.
Any potential plea deal would keep Castro in prison for life in connection with the alleged kidnapping and sexual assaults of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported
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One of Castro's attorneys, Craig Weintraub, told the Plain Dealer that a deal could be reached if the state took the death penalty off the table. The plea deal would keep Berry, DeJesus and Knight from facing Castro again in trial.
"They’re hopeful that it’s going to come to a speedy conclusion," Kathryn Joseph, a lawyer for one of the women, told NBC News Thursday.
Castro, who is being held on an $8 million bond, has plead not guilty to a 977-count indictment that included several hundred counts of kidnapping and rape and two counts aggravated murder, according to the Plain Dealer.
He is scheduled to go on trial in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Aug. 5. The three women told authorities they escaped from Castro's house May 6 while he was away.
Reuters reported that the women disappeared between 2002 and 2004. Castro fathered Berry's 6-year-old girl while she was in alleged captivity, Reuters wrote. The news service said DNA evidence confirmed Castro was the father.
Reuters said that according to court and police reports, the women had been bound for periods of time in chains or ropes and endured starvation, beatings and sexual assaults for years.
Castro is also charged with murder under an Ohio fetal homicide law for allegedly forcing one of the women to miscarry, according to Reuters.
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