Cleveland kidnapping, rape suspect Ariel Castro to undergo competency evaluation

CLEVELAND - Ariel Castro, the man accused of kidnapping three missing women found alive in his Seymour Avenue home, has been ordered to have his competency evaluated.

Castro appeared before Judge Michael Russo for another pretrial hearing Wednesday morning.

Judge Russo referred Castro for a competency evaluation at the court psychiatric clinic Thursday. He said a doctor will only be assessing Castro's ability to understand the proceedings and to assist his attorneys in his defense.

When Russo asked if Castro understood that, Castro responded, "Yes, I do."

"I have absolutely no doubt from the hours of tape and other evidence that he his entirely competent," Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty said.

The judge also said blogging and electronic devices will be prohibited inside the courtroom.

The following statements were issued on behalf of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight:

"Michelle, Gina and Amanda understand there is a legal process," said James Wooley, attorney for Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus. "They have faith in the prosecutor and the court to deliver a just result."

"The longer this process lasts, the more painful it is for them.  And the more sordid details of this horror that get disclosed in this process, the more painful it is for them," said Kathy Joseph, attorney for Michelle Knight.

"Again they have faith in the process, but the simple, honest truth is they would like it to be over.  They want this whole thing behind them.  Any date set by which this may end is like light at the end of a tunnel," said Wooley. 

Castro's next court appearance is scheduled for next Wednesday at 8:45 a.m.

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