Cleveland’s chief prosecutor faces obstacles as he weighs whether to bring death penalty charges against Ariel Castro, accused of kidnapping three women and forcing one of them into miscarriages through starvation and beatings, capital punishment experts tell the Associated Press. Such charges are possible, though not without legal fights starting with constitutional questions over the definition of a murder victim for the purposes of a death penalty case. Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty said after the women were rescued from Castro’s run-down home that capital punishment “must be reserved for those crimes that are truly the worst examples of human conduct.”
McGinty said Ohio law “calls for the death penalty for those most depraved criminals, who commit aggravated murder during the course of a kidnapping,.” he added. Ohio includes the unlawful termination of a pregnancy among possible aggravated murder charges, said Ohio State University law Prof. Doug Berman. “Ergo, Castro, at least as the facts have been described and developed, would seem to be the poster child for the worst of the worst unlawful pregnancy terminator,” Berman said. Adding other crimes, such as kidnapping or rape, to aggravated murder is how death penalty charges are brought in Ohio.