(CLEVELAND) — Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man accused of kidnapping three women and keeping them locked inside his home for a decade, was denied access Wednesday to the 6-year-old daughter he fathered with one of his alleged victims.
At a pre-trial hearing Wednesday, a Cuyahoga County Judge Michael Russo ruled Castro is competent to stand trial and said he would not allow contact with the girl, calling it “inappropriate.” The girl is with her mother, Amanda Berry, who is one of Castro’s alleged victims.
Castro’s competency exam showed he is mentally able to understand the charges against him and is able to assist in his defense, Russo said.
The 52-year-old has pleaded not guilty last month to 329-count indictment that includes charges of kidnapping and rape.
Castro, a former school bus driver, is accused of snatching Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight between 2002 and 2004 and imprisoning them, sometimes restrained by chains, in his Cleveland home.
Castro is also accused of the aggravated murder of a fetus for allegedly forcibly causing an abortion in one of his victims that he is accused of impregnating, a charge that could potentially carry the death penalty.
Jury selection for Castro’s trial is scheduled to begin on Aug. 5.
The three Cleveland women, who had been missing for a decade, were freed on May 6 when Berry cried out for help from behind a closed screen door, getting the attention of neighbors.
“Help me. I’m Amanda Berry. I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been missing for 10 years, and I’m, I’m here, I’m free now,” she told a 911 dispatcher, as she escaped the home with her daughter.
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Aaron Smith and Jon Ostrower, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Barbie Latza Nadeau, Margot Haddad, Livia Borghese and Angela Dewan, CNN