Competency evaluation ordered for Ariel Castro - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Competency evaluation ordered for Ariel Castro

Ariel Castro in court on Wednesday Ariel Castro in court on Wednesday

The Cleveland man suspected of kidnapping three women and holding them captive for years inside his west side home was back in court on Wednesday.

As he has in previous court appearances, Ariel Castro hung his head and refused to make eye contact with anyone. Castro is facing nearly 330 charges, including murder.

In court on Wednesday, Judge Russo ordered a competency evaluation for Castro. He will be referred to the court psychiatrist to make sure he understands the proceedings. Results will be back in 10 days.

Judge Russo asked Castro if he understood the need for a competency test. He replied, "Yes, I do."

County Prosecutor Tim McGinty told Judge Russo that Castro is competent based on interviews.

 "He knows what he is doing now and then," McGinty told the court.

Castro is accused of holding Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus captive in his Seymour Avenue house for years before they were rescued on May 6.

Berry gave birth to his daughter while in captivity.

Castro's defense attorneys said they are willing to plead guilty to all the charges, but murder. They are hoping the prosecutors will drop the murder charges so they can avoid a lengthy trial and spare the women from testifying.

"Michelle, Gina and Amanda understand there is a legal process," said James Wooley, attorney for Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus. "They have faith in the prosecutor and the court to deliver a just result." 

"The longer this process lasts, the more painful it is for them. And the more sordid details of this horror that get disclosed in this process, the more painful it is for them," said Kathy Joseph, attorney for Michelle Knight.

"Again they have faith in the process, but the simple, honest truth is they would like it to be over. They want this whole thing behind them. Any date set by which this may end is like light at the end of a tunnel," said Wooley.

Castro remains jailed on $8M.

Right now, his trial date is set for August 4, but that should change after Castro waives his right to a speedy trial.

Castro's next court date has been set for Wednesday, July 3, at 8:30 a.m.

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