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Accused Cleveland kidnapper ruled capable of standing trial

By CNN Staff
July 3, 2013 -- Updated 1711 GMT (0111 HKT)
Amanda Berry speaks in a <a href='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG0WePdZoxg&amp;feature=youtu.be' target='_blank'>video released on YouTube</a> on Monday, July 8, thanking people for support and privacy. Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight escaped from a Cleveland home on May 6, 2013, after being held captive for nearly a decade. Amanda Berry speaks in a video released on YouTube on Monday, July 8, thanking people for support and privacy. Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight escaped from a Cleveland home on May 6, 2013, after being held captive for nearly a decade.
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Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Photos: Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
Kidnapped teens found decade later
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ariel Castro, the accused kidnapper, faces 329 counts
  • He is accused of holding three women in his Cleveland home for years
  • Castro is declared competent to understand proceedings and assist counsel

(CNN) -- Ariel Castro, the Ohio man accused of holding three women captive for about a decade, is competent to stand trial, a judge said at a hearing Wednesday.

Judge Michael Russo said a competency evaluation showed with "reasonable medical certainty" that Castro, 52, is capable of understanding the proceedings and assisting counsel.

The next pretrial hearing is July 24, and jury selection is tentatively scheduled to begin August 5.

How the kidnappings unfolded

Ariel Castro enters 'not guilty' plea
Ariel Castro indicted on 329 counts

"So consistent with the statute where there is presumption of competency and consistent with the report done by our experts which the court is accepting as evidence for purposes of this hearing, the court finds Mr. Castro is competent to proceed in this matter, to assist council and to stand trial," the judge said.

Neither the defense nor the state presented witnesses at the hearing and both agreed that Castro is competent to stand trial.

Trial date set for Castro, more charges possible

Castro, clad in an orange prison suit, sat in the court during the hearing, his head lowered and eyes sometimes closed. He answered questions directly, telling the judge he understood the proceedings.

The suspect was evaluated by two psychiatrists. The competency report is sealed, so it won't be publicly available.

The issue of visitation came up.

The judge said he would not allow Castro to have contact with his 6-year-old daughter, CNN affiliate WJW reported. Her mother is Amanda Berry, who was one of the three captives. Castro also has adult children.

Prosecutors confirmed in court they intend to seek a superseding indictment, meaning they will present the case again to the grand jury from scratch. It is unclear whether that will affect the August trial date.

Castro is accused of holding the women in his Cleveland home. He faces 329 counts, including one count of aggravated murder for allegedly causing the unlawful termination of a pregnancy.

DNA studied for more possible victims

CNN's Mayra Cuevas and Joe Sterling contributed to this report

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May 14, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
Michelle Knight wasn't the only one being held by Ariel Castro. But she knew she was different.
May 6, 2014 -- Updated 1605 GMT (0005 HKT)
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Ariel Castro who was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years for kidnapping, raping and holding captive three women was found hanging in his prison cell.
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August 4, 2013 -- Updated 1737 GMT (0137 HKT)
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August 5, 2013 -- Updated 1038 GMT (1838 HKT)
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