Cleveland kidnapping, rape suspect Ariel Castro ruled competent to stand trial

CLEVELAND - A judge has declared that Cleveland kidnapping and rape suspect Ariel Castro is competent to stand trial.

Castro appeared in court Wednesday morning for another pretrial hearing, where the results of Castro's competency exam showed he is mentally able to understand the charges and assist attorneys in his defense.

The 52-year-old also asked the judge to readdress the issue of seeing his 6-year-old child, the daughter of Amanda Berry, who is the minor involved. The judge said he will not be allowing that contact through the hearing of the case, calling it "inappropriate." He will, however, look into permitting contact with Castro's adult children.

Prosecutors said they will file a superseding, "all encompassing" indictment with possible capital specifications.

The State of Ohio's Capital Punishment Committee will meet on July 11 to review Castro's case. Castro's attorneys are welcome to submit content on Castro's behalf to present to the Capital Committee.

The next pretrial is scheduled for July 24 at 8:45 a.m. Jury selection will begin Aug. 5 and the judge will now begin sending out juror notices.

Castro is currently being held in jail on $8 million bond in the case of three missing women, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, found alive after nearly a decade of captivity.

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