The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

May 10, 2013

Ohio man's ex-relatives say he is a 'monster'

(Continued)

Berry, now 27, told officers that she was forced to give birth in a plastic pool in the house so it would be easier to clean up. Berry said none of the women — or her 6-year-old child — went to a doctor during their captivity.

Michelle Knight, now 32, said her five pregnancies ended after Castro starved her for at least two weeks and "repeatedly punched her in the stomach until she miscarried." She also said Castro forced her to deliver Berry's baby under threat of death if the baby died. When the newborn stopped breathing, Knight said, she revived her through mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

During his brief arraignment Thursday, Castro tried to hide his face, tucking his chin inside his shirt collar. He appeared to close his eyes during the hearing and awkwardly signed documents while handcuffed. He did not speak or enter a plea.

In court, prosecutor Brian Murphy said Castro used the women "in whatever self-gratifying, self-serving way he saw fit."

Kathleen DeMetz, a public defender assigned to represent him at the hearing, didn't comment on his guilt or innocence or object when prosecutors recommended that bail be set at $5 million. The judge, instead, ordered Castro held on $8 million bail.

Castro was arrested Monday, when Berry broke out of his run-down house and called 911 while he was away. Police found the two other women inside. The women had vanished separately between 2002 and 2004, when they 14, 16 and 20.

Police then entered the house and found the other women, who flung themselves into the officers' arms.

Berry and former captive Gina DeJesus, 22, went home with relatives Wednesday. Knight was reported in good condition at a Cleveland hospital.

Castro's two brothers, who were arrested with him but later cleared of involvement in the case, appeared in court on unrelated charges Thursday and were released.

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