Cleveland -- The Cleveland man accused of holding three women captive in his home for more than a decade pleaded not guilty July 17 on an expanded indictment charging him with 512 counts of kidnapping and 446 counts of rape, among other crimes.
The charges returned by a grand jury against Ariel Castro expanded on a 329-count indictment filed earlier that covered only part of the time frame of the alleged crimes. He previously pleaded not guilty to that indictment.
Castro, 53, has been jailed since his arrest on May 6 shortly after the women escaped to freedom. As in past court appearances, he kept his head down July 16, typically responding to a judge's questions with one-word answers.
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Pamela Barker repeatedly told Castro to raise his head and keep his eyes open during the brief court appearance.
"Sir, please keep your eyes open so I make sure that you are listening to me and understanding what I'm saying, OK," the judge asked.
"I'm trying," said Castro, who in past court appearances has kept his head down and his chin tucked on his chest.
The judge continued his bond at $8 million.
Besides kidnapping and rape, the new 977-count indictment also charges him with seven counts of gross sexual imposition, six counts of felonious assault, three counts of child endangerment and one count of possessing criminal tools.
He previous was charged with two counts of aggravated murder related to one act, charges alleging that he purposely caused the unlawful termination of the pregnancy of one of the women.
Castro is scheduled for trial on Aug. 5, a date that could be delayed if the defense requests more preparation time. His legal team has hinted Castro would plead guilty if the death penalty was off the table.
Defense attorney Craig Weintraub said after the arraignment that he didn't expect a trial postponement.
"We have a trial date of Aug. 5, so either we're going to have a plea or we're going to trial Aug. 5," he said.