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Accused Cleveland kidnapper ruled capable of standing trial

By CNN Staff
updated 1:11 PM EDT, Wed July 3, 2013
Amanda Berry speaks in a <a href='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG0WePdZoxg&amp;feature=youtu.be' target='_blank'>video released on YouTube</a> on Monday, July 8, thanking people for support and privacy. Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight escaped from a Cleveland home on May 6 after being held captive for nearly a decade. Amanda Berry speaks in a video released on YouTube on Monday, July 8, thanking people for support and privacy. Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight escaped from a Cleveland home on May 6 after being held captive for nearly a decade.
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Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Photos: Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ariel Castro, the accused kidnapper, faces 329 counts
  • He is accused of holding three women in his Cleveland home for years
  • Castro is declared competent to understand proceedings and assist counsel

(CNN) -- Ariel Castro, the Ohio man accused of holding three women captive for about a decade, is competent to stand trial, a judge said at a hearing Wednesday.

Judge Michael Russo said a competency evaluation showed with "reasonable medical certainty" that Castro, 52, is capable of understanding the proceedings and assisting counsel.

The next pretrial hearing is July 24, and jury selection is tentatively scheduled to begin August 5.

How the kidnappings unfolded

Ariel Castro enters 'not guilty' plea
Ariel Castro indicted on 329 counts

"So consistent with the statute where there is presumption of competency and consistent with the report done by our experts which the court is accepting as evidence for purposes of this hearing, the court finds Mr. Castro is competent to proceed in this matter, to assist council and to stand trial," the judge said.

Neither the defense nor the state presented witnesses at the hearing and both agreed that Castro is competent to stand trial.

Trial date set for Castro, more charges possible

Castro, clad in an orange prison suit, sat in the court during the hearing, his head lowered and eyes sometimes closed. He answered questions directly, telling the judge he understood the proceedings.

The suspect was evaluated by two psychiatrists. The competency report is sealed, so it won't be publicly available.

The issue of visitation came up.

The judge said he would not allow Castro to have contact with his 6-year-old daughter, CNN affiliate WJW reported. Her mother is Amanda Berry, who was one of the three captives. Castro also has adult children.

Prosecutors confirmed in court they intend to seek a superseding indictment, meaning they will present the case again to the grand jury from scratch. It is unclear whether that will affect the August trial date.

Castro is accused of holding the women in his Cleveland home. He faces 329 counts, including one count of aggravated murder for allegedly causing the unlawful termination of a pregnancy.

DNA studied for more possible victims

CNN's Mayra Cuevas and Joe Sterling contributed to this report

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Ohio women found
updated 6:36 PM EDT, Wed September 4, 2013
Ariel Castro who was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years for kidnapping, raping and holding captive three women was found hanging in his prison cell, authorities said told CNN affiliate WOIO.
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updated 1:37 PM EDT, Sun August 4, 2013
They were living in hell, and Ariel Castro did all he could to make sure they'd never escape it.
updated 6:38 AM EDT, Mon August 5, 2013
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When her chance came, kidnapping victim Michelle Knight lit into Ariel Castro, the man who held her captive and raped her in his Cleveland home for a decade.
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updated 3:57 AM EDT, Fri August 2, 2013
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updated 7:51 AM EDT, Tue July 30, 2013
In his first television interview, Ariel Castro's son said that his dad belongs in prison for the rest of his life and he doesn't plan on ever visiting him.
updated 8:25 PM EDT, Thu May 9, 2013
In retrospect, there were plenty of signs that something was wrong.
updated 1:10 PM EDT, Thu August 1, 2013
For the first time, take a look inside the Cleveland house where three women were held captive for a decade.
updated 7:50 AM EDT, Thu August 1, 2013
When an judge denied a request for Castro to visit the 6-year-old girl he fathered with one of the women he kidnapped and raped, the reason seemed pretty clear.
updated 6:55 AM EDT, Mon May 13, 2013
How the macabre enslavement of two girls and a woman began has deeply disturbed a nation, if not the world.
updated 11:37 AM EDT, Sun May 19, 2013
When the police arrived at Castro's house, it was almost peaceful. As if nobody else was there. And then they heard the sound of scurrying feet upstairs.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Mon May 13, 2013
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Two were just teenagers when they were kidnapped, but the three women have finally been found a decade later.
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When Amanda Berry screamed for help through a crack in the front door of the house where she was being held, she set in motion an end to roughly a decade of captivity for herself and two other women.
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