[Updated 4:30 p.m. ET]
CLEVELAND, Ohio—A judge set bail at $8 million at a brief hearing Thursday for Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man accused of kidnapping and keeping three young women as captives for a decade. The lawyer prosecuting the case said he may seek the death penalty against Castro.
Cleveland Municipal Judge Lauren C. Moore set bail at $2 million per charge, an amount that indicated the judge wants to keep Castro in jail. He was ordered not to have any contact with the three women or their families.
Castro appeared in court Thursday morning along with his brothers, Pedro, 54, and Onil, 50. All three were handcuffed, but Onil and Pedro Castro were not charged. They appeared before the same judge this morning on outstanding misdemeanors and were released around noon.
The Cleveland Police Department announced it had handed over custody of Ariel Castro had to county authorities.
Castro, 52, is charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape. Police say the former school bus driver held Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32, at his west side Cleveland home. The women were reportedly restrained with ropes and chains. Court documents indicate Castro repeatedly raped the women throughout their captivity.
Timothy McGinty, a Cuyahoga County prosecutor leading the case, said he and his team are evaluating whether to pursue charges eligible for the death penalty, which he said should be reserved for the "worst examples" of human conduct.
"I fully intend to seek to charges on each and every act of sexual violence, rape, each day of kidnapping, every felonious assault, all these attempted murders, and each act of aggravated murder he committed by terminating pregnancies that the offender perpetuaged against the hostages during this decade-long ordeal," McGinty told reporters at a news conference Thursday afternoon.
Knight was taken on Aug. 22, 2002, Berry on April 21, 2003, and DeJesus on April 2, 2004.
Berry, who went missing a day before her 17th birthday after leaving her job at a nearby fast-food restaurant, broke free from Castro's home with her 6-year-old daughter, Jocelyn, on Monday. After she called police, DeJesus and Knight were able to escape, too.Read More »from Bail set at $8 million for kidnap suspect; prosecutor may seek death penalty