Cleveland kidnapping suspect hit with more charges, 977 counts


Cleveland kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro was indicted on additional charges on Friday, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office said.

Castro is accused of holding Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight captive for a decade in his Seymour Avenue house on Cleveland's near-west side. He was already charged with 329 counts, covering Aug. 22, 2002 through Feb. 28, 2007.

[Click here to read the indictment: ]

The newly-filed superseding is for 977 counts, which includes two aggravated homicide charges for an unidentified female, according to a court official. The indictment is 576 pages long and covers the entire time the women were missing, starting in 2002 and ending on May 6.

"Today's indictment moves us closer to resolution of this gruesome case,'' Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty said in a statement on Friday. "Our investigation continues, as does our preparation for trial."

Castro will be arraigned on the new counts on July 17. The prosecutor's office said Castro wants his trial to take place within 90 days of his arrest and the state said they will be ready for the Aug. 5 start.

"The first indictment only contained charges through early 2007 so we expected additional charges from a grand jury. We are pleased that we were able to convince the prosecutor's office to not seek and obtain the death penalty in this new indictment," said Castro's attorneys at the Law Offices of Craig T. Weintraub. "It is our hope that we can continue to work toward a resolution of this matter so that the women do not have to endure any additional trauma."

According to the prosecutor's office, the state can still add death penalty specifications in another superseding indictment.

Earlier this week, the three survivors released a video, thanking the community for support and respecting their privacy.

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