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AUDIO: Castro ruled competent to stand trial

AUDIO: Castro ruled competent to stand trial

(Cleveland) — The man charged with holding three women captive in his home for about a decade was back in court Wednesday morning for a competency hearing.  

Judge Michael Russo has ruled that Ariel Castro is competent to stand trial.

Castro has pleaded not guilty to a 329 count indictment that includes multiple kidnapping and rape charges.

Authorities accuse the 52-year-old Castro of kidnapping the women between 2002 and 2004 when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old.

Last week, Cuyahoga County Judge Michael Russo ordered Castro evaluated to determine if he is mentally competent to stand trial.

The judge said he wanted to make sure Castro was able to understand the charges and help attorneys in his defense.

Judge Russo began by asking Castro if her understood what was happening and Castro said that he did.

Toward the end of the hearing, Castro asked if he could visit with the young daughter he had with captive Amanda Berry. Judge Russo said that would not happen, calling it inappropriate. DNA testing confirmed the six-year-old girl is Castro's biological daughter

Lawyers for Castro, being held on $8 million bond, have raised the possibility of a plea deal if the death penalty is taken off the table.

The next pre-trial is scheduled for July 24.

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