A court-appointed psychiatrist will evaluate the competency of the Cleveland man charged with kidnapping three girls and holding them captive for years.
Ariel Castro, who is charged in a 329-count indictment for the kidnapping and rape of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, will be evaluated Thursday in the court clinic by Dr. Phillip Resnick, Judge Michael Russo said Wednesday. Castro is also charged with aggravated murder for the alleged forced termination of one woman's pregnancy. If convicted of that charge, Castro could face the death penalty.
The women escaped his Seymour Avenue home on May 6.
Castro, who appeared in court in an orange jail jumpsuit and with his head cast down, spoke just once, saying "Yes, I do," when the judge asked him if he understood that a doctor would evaluate his competence.
Prosecutor Tim McGinty did not object to the court-ordered evaluation but insisted in court Wednesday that Castro is fit for trial.
"We have absolute confidence from the hours of tape ... that he is competent," McGinty told the judge.
The indictment covers crimes allegedly committed from 2002 to 2007. Castro, who is jailed on $8 million bail, could face additional charges from 2007 until the women's escape if the grand jury issues a superseding indictment. McGinty told the judge Wednesday that he expects additional charges to come.
Prosecutors late Tuesday night also delivered 900 pages of documents to Castro's attorneys, Russo said.
Castro will return to court July 3 for additional pretrial hearings. Russo scheduled the trial for August.
Donna Leinwand Leger, USA TODAY