CLEVELAND - Prosecutors said Thursday they may seek the death penalty against Ariel Castro, the man accused of imprisoning three women at his home for a decade, as police charged that he impregnated one of his captives at least five times and made her miscarry by starving her and punching her in the belly.
The allegations were contained in a police report that also said another woman, Amanda Berry, was forced to give birth in a plastic kiddie pool.
Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty said his office will decide whether to bring aggravated-murder charges punishable by death in connection with the pregnancies that were terminated by force.
"Capital punishment must be reserved for those crimes that are truly the worst examples of human conduct," he said. "The reality is we still have brutal criminals in our midst who have no respect for the rule of law or human life."
Castro, 52, a former school bus driver, was ordered held on $8 million bail on Thursday, and he is in jail under a suicide watch, charged with rape and kidnapping.
McGinty said Castro will be charged for every act of sexual violence, assault, and other crimes committed against the women, suggesting the counts could number in the hundreds, if not thousands.
Among the chilling details in the police report, obtained Thursday by news organizations:
Berry, now 27, told officers she was forced to give birth in a plastic pool in the house so it would be easier to clean up. Berry said she, her baby, now 6, and the two other rescued women never 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 infant died. Knight said that when the newborn stopped breathing, she revived her through mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
All three women said Castro chained them up in the basement but eventually let them live upstairs on the second floor. Each woman told a similar story about being abducted after accepting a ride from Castro.
During his brief arraignment Thursday, Castro tried to hide his face, tucking his chin inside his collar. He appeared to close his eyes during the hearing and awkwardly signed documents while handcuffed. He did not speak or enter a plea.