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Ariel Castro competent to stand trial in Cleveland kidnapping case

  |   July 3, 2013 at 2:40 PM
CLEVELAND, July 3 (UPI) -- Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man accused of holding three women as sex slaves for 10 years, is competent to stand trial, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Castro's lawyers told Common Pleas Judge Michael Russo their client is capable of assisting in his defense to charges of aggravated murder, kidnapping and rape, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported. A court-ordered psychiatric evaluation found him mentally competent.

Russo denied Castro's request to allow him to be in touch with the daughter he fathered with one of his alleged victims. He ruled last week that Castro can only talk on the telephone to his mother and sister, with a deputy dialing the number for him.

Castro could face the death penalty if he is convicted of murder. The charge comes from allegations he deliberately caused one of the women to miscarry by repeatedly punching her.

He faces 329 charges and his lawyers have acknowledged conviction is certain on at least some of them.

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight were allegedly abducted and held in his home for almost 10 years. One of the women got out of the house in May and got help from a neighbor.

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