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Ariel Castro now facing 977 charges in Cleveland: A statement by prosecutors?

A new indictment, announced Friday, nearly triples the number of charges against alleged Cleveland captor Ariel Castro following his arrest in May. He’s due to be arraigned again next Wednesday.

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Ariel Castro, who allegedly held three women captive for a decade, is led back to jail after a hearing in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in Cleveland, Wednesday.

Mark Duncan/AP

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Prosecutors in Cleveland are leveling a second set of charges against Ariel Castro, who is accused of kidnapping and holding captive three women in his home for a decade.

The new indictment, announced Friday, nearly triples the number of charges against Mr. Castro following his arrest in May. He now faces in total 977 criminal counts – including 512 counts of kidnapping, 446 counts of rape, six counts of felonious assault, and three counts of child endangerment.

“Today’s indictment moves us closer to resolution of this gruesome case. Our investigation continues, as does our preparation for trial,” Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty said in a statement.

A previous indictment covered 329 counts and applied to the time period between August 2002, when the first woman disappeared, and February 2007. Friday’s indictment includes the earlier charges, and it adds others by extending the time period to May of this year, when the women gained their freedom.

Castro has already pleaded not guilty to the first set of charges. He is due in court next Wednesday to be arraigned on the new indictment.

Speedy law provisions in Ohio give defendants the right to a trial within 90 days. Prosecutors say they are ready for an Aug. 5 trial date.

The magnitude of the charges suggests that prosecutors want to make a statement about the horrors of the alleged crimes.

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