A man accused of kidnapping, imprisoning and raping three women in Cleveland may face the death penalty for his conduct during the nearly 10-year ordeal. Ariel Castro will also be charged with aggravated murder for forcing miscarriages on one of the women whom he allegedly repeatedly impregnated.
Michelle Knight told authorities Castro repeatedly starved her and punched her in the abdomen to induce miscarriages. Knight, now 32, was abducted by Castro in 2002 and held along with now 27-year-old Amanda Berry, abducted in 2003, and now 23-year-old Gina DeJesus, abducted in 2004. Berry gave birth to a daughter, now six years old, while in captivity, allegedly fathered by Castro.
Cuyahoga County Prosectuor Timothy McGinty said he will pursue charges of kidnapping and sexual assault, along with the aggravated murder charges that could bring the death penalty:
I fully intend to seek charges for each and every act of sexual violence, rape, each day of kidnapping, every felonious assault, and each act of aggravated murder for terminating pregnancies that the offender perpetrated … Capital punishment must be reserved for those crimes that are truly the worst examples of human conduct. The reality is we still have brutal criminals in our midst who have no respect for the rule of law or human life.
The three imprisoned women were discovered Monday by a neighbor when Berry took advantage of Castro's absence to call for help. They were abducted separately by the 52-year-old man when he allegedly lured them into his vehicle, and then kept them bound in ropes and chains in the basement of his house. He eventually let the women live on the second floor.
Allahpundit of Hot Air lays out the logic behind the potential for seeking the death penalty, as an Ohio statute allows "unlawful termination of another's pregnancy" to result in aggravated murder charges:
"But wait," you say, "doesn't charging this piece of garbage with murder necessarily mean that the fetuses he killed in the womb are persons"? Why, yes. Courts and legislatures have been wrestling with that contradiction, where a fetus is something less than a person for purposes of lawful abortion but a full person for purposes of "unlawful termination," since Roe was decided. There is a way to square the circle conceptually, but abortion warriors don't like it: Instead of trying to redefine a fetus as something other than a "life," they could acknowledge that it's a life and then treat lawful abortion as a form of justifiable homicide.
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