Plea deal talks under way in Ohio kidnapping case

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CLEVELAND (AP) — A man accused of kidnapping three women, keeping them captive in his Cleveland home for about a decade and raping them repeatedly faces a final pretrial hearing a day after his attorneys and prosecutors said they have entered into plea negotiations.

The 53-year-old Ariel Castro is scheduled to appear in court Friday morning before a Cuyahoga County judge who wants to be updated on the talks.

Plea deal negotiations are hinging on whether the prosecutor would rule out the death penalty as the defense has demanded.

Castro, whose trial is slated to start Aug. 5, has pleaded not guilty to nearly 1,000 counts of kidnap, rape and other crimes. His indictment includes two counts of aggravated murder related to accusations he punched and starved one of the women until she miscarried.

The women escaped to freedom in May.

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