Elias Acevedo: Cleveland, Ohio murder-rape case involves years of evidence

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CLEVELAND (AP) -- Evidence spanning years will delay the trial of a convicted sex offender charged with two murders and 173 counts of rape, a case that renewed attention on violence against women in Cleveland.

During a pretrial hearing Wednesday, Elias Acevedo's attorney and the prosecutor said they need more time to review the evidence.

Acevedo, 49, has pleaded not guilty. The murder charges involve the deaths of a neighbor in 1994 and another woman in 1995. According to assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Blaise Thomas, the evidence spans "many years."

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Michael Donnelly directed the prosecution to share its evidence with the defense team. He scheduled another hearing Nov. 18.

Acevedo appeared in court in an orange jail outfit and shackles. He kept his eyes down except when responding "yes" and "no" to routine questions from the judge.

The stepmother and half-sister of one slaying victim, Christina Adkins, sat in court wearing "Justice for Christina" T-shirts with her photo.

Acevedo's prosecution is the latest among a group of headline-grabbing cases involving violence against women in and around Cleveland.

The prosecutor's office says Acevedo most recently lived about a block away from Ariel Castro, 53, who kidnapped three women, imprisoned and raped them in his home for about a decade. They escaped to freedom May 6.

Castro killed himself in prison Sept. 3, just weeks into a life prison sentence.

In 2009, Anthony Sowell was charged with killing 11 women and hiding their bodies around his Cleveland house and yard. He was found guilty and his death sentence is under appeal.

And, in a case due back in court Thursday, Michael Madison, 36, could face the death penalty if convicted in the murders of three women in East Cleveland. Their bodies were found dumped in trash bags in July after a complaint about a foul odor coming from a garage.

The East Cleveland mayor has suggested that Madison might have been influenced by Sowell.

Sowell's case raised complaints from relatives of some of his victims that police were indifferent to missing-person reports involving black women living on the street or involved in drugs or prostitution. The city responded by tightening procedures on such investigations.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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