Cleveland prosecutors are considering seeking the death penalty for Ariel Castro who is accused of kidnapping and holding three women at his home for a decade, as police reports surface that he inflicted multiple pregnancy terminations through belly-punching and starving his captives.
Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced Thursday that his office will decide whether to bring aggravated murder charges punishable by death in connection with the forced miscarriages.
“Capital punishment must be reserved for those crimes that are truly the worst examples of human conduct,” McGinty said. “The reality is we still have brutal criminals in our midst who have no respect for the rule of law or human life.”
TV and Internet news sources have provided near round-the-clock coverage of the unfolding story of the three captive women who were held mostly in chains by the former school bus driver with a monstrous double-life.
In a video that has now gone viral, the unassuming neighbor who assisted the women while their captor was away gave a colorful account of how an ordinary day quickly turned into the events that sparked a nationwide media frenzy. Charles Ramsey became a national hero, a viral video star and the top topic on Twitter within hours after he assisted the women’s escape. He said he hasn’t slept well since the rescue because of the year he lived next door without knowing what was going on.
“Up until yesterday the only thing that kept me from losing sleep was the lack of money,” Ramsey, a restaurant dishwasher, said on Anderson Cooper 360. “I could have done this last year, not this hero stuff. Just do the right thing.”
One of his most famous quotes from the interview, “I barbecue with this dude,” has prompted community conversations about criminal awareness.
As details of physical and sexual abuse continue to surface in connection with the case, Salt Lake City native Elizabeth Smart, who was abducted in 2002 and held for nine months, related to the immediate care that the freed women will need.
“I think it’s so important to respect their privacy to try to help give them every chance they can to find their own way, to find their own pathway back to some sense of well-being,” Smart said on Good Morning America.
Smart, whose rescue began with someone on the street in Sandy spotting her in clothing designed to conceal her identity, understands the role of everyday people in solving abduction crimes.
“I think that just goes to show that everyday people, the general public, are the people who are going to make the biggest difference,” Smart told Scott Pelley in an interview with CBS. “It is because of the bravery and the heroism of that one man that ended up saving those three girls because he was willing to listen, he was willing to act, he was willing to help.”