Cleveland kidnapping suspect competent for trial

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Associated Press

CLEVELAND (AP) - A man charged with holding three women captive in his Cleveland home for about a decade and raping them has been found competent to stand trial.
   
A Cuyahoga County judge said during a hearing Wednesday that an examination found that 52-year-old Ariel Castro is mentally able to understand the charges and assist attorneys in his defense.
   
Castro has pleaded not guilty to a 329 count indictment that includes multiple kidnapping and rape charges. He's being held on an $8 million bond.
   
Authorities accuse him of kidnapping the women between 2002 and 2004 when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old.
   
A trial is scheduled for Aug. 5, but the judge said it could be delayed.

Earlier story:

CLEVELAND (AP) - A man charged with holding three women captive in his home for about a decade has another court hearing.
   
Ariel Castro has pleaded not guilty to a 329 count indictment that includes multiple kidnapping and rape charges.
   
Authorities accuse the 52-year-old Castro of kidnapping the women between 2002 and 2004 when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old.
   
Last week Cuyahoga County Judge Michael Russo ordered Castro evaluated to determine if he is mentally competent to stand trial.
   
The judge said he wants to make sure Castro is able to understand the charges and help attorneys in his defense.
   
Lawyers for Castro, being held on $8 million bond, have raised the possibility of a plea deal if the death penalty is taken off the table.
   
Castro's hearing is Wednesday.

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