Judge limits calls of Cleveland kidnapping suspect

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – A Cleveland man jailed on accusations he kidnapped three women and raped and imprisoned them for a decade is allowed to communicate only with his mother and sister, according to a judge’s order.


Defendant Ariel Castro can write those two relatives, or call them only if a guard dials the number and monitors the call, Cuyahoga County Judge Michael Russo said in an order relayed to Castro last week.


The order, noted without explanation on a June 26 jail log monitoring Castro’s activities, said no third-party calling is allowed and calls will be terminated if anyone besides Castro’s mother or sister talks on the line.


Jail logs for Castro dating back more than a month refer to phone restrictions as part of his monitoring, which includes mandatory 10-minute, around-the-clock checks on his activity. The same logs refer to at least one phone call Castro made to his attorney in May.


The order provides more detail on those restrictions and clarifies the jail’s authority over the communication, John O’Brien, a Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said in an email Tuesday.


Messages were left for defense attorney Craig Weintraub and with Russo.


Castro spends most of his days lying on his bunk, watching TV or sleeping, with rare moments out of the cell for showers or regular cell searches, according to the logs, provided to the Associated Press through a records request. The latest batch, covering June 25-28, include references to Castro jogging in his cell and talking in person to his attorney. Heating and air conditioning workers also visited the cell June 26 checking ventilation and air flow, according to the logs.


Castro has pleaded not guilty to a 329-count indictment alleging he kidnapped three women off the streets of Cleveland between 2002 and 2004 when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old and held them for a decade in his two-story home in a rough Cleveland neighborhood. He fathered a 6-year-old child with one victim and is accused of starving and punching a second to cause her to miscarry.


Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty has said he might push to make the case eligible for the death penalty because of the miscarriages. Castro’s attorneys have previously hinted that he might plead guilty if talk of capital punishment was taken off the table.


Castro, scheduled for trial Aug. 4, has another in a series of pre-trial hearings today.


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