Lawyers for Ariel Castro, the man accused of kidnapping three young women in Cleveland and holding them captive for a decade, are hoping to avoid the death penalty and have begun dropping hints about the possibility of making a plea deal.
On Wednesday morning a hearing was held in which a 329-count indictment for rape, kidnapping, and murder was lodged against Castro, 52. Following the hearing, lawyer Craig Weintraub told reporters that some of the charges against Castro "cannot be disputed".
Three women - Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and MIchelle Knight - who had been missing for a decade were discovered in Castro's home last month and were rescued.
Castro's lawyers entered a not guilty plea for him in case.
Now, the case has entered a touchy legal phase as Castro's attorney and prosecutors decide whether or not to broach a plea deal that would spare the women from having to recount the horrific details of their captivity in what would be a highly public trial. Without saying so specifically, the defense hinted at the possibility of a plea deal.
Weintraub noted that the not guilty plea would force the prosecution to consider whether murder charges, which were based on allegations that Castro beat one of the women to induce a miscarriage multiple times, were worth pursuing in court.