CLEVELAND - With a 10 a.m. final pretrial hearing set for Friday, all eyes will be on a Cleveland courtroom then waiting to hear if suspected rapist and kidnapper, 53-year-old Ariel Castro, will get a plea deal.
Legal analysts are predicting the final pretrial will turn into a plea deal hearing, which comes after Wednesday's hearing when a defense attorney for Castro confirmed in court a plea deal is in the works.
Sentencing will not take place during Friday's hearing if a deal is reached.
If a plea deal is announced Friday, Attorney Mark DeVan with Berkman, Gordon, Murray and DeVan told NewsChannel5, it could mean the end to a landmark case will come very soon.
DeVan described the back-and-forth for both sides during plea bargaining but added, it would not come as fast if the death penalty remained on the table.
"If it's on the table, then that's another story. You're fighting for a man's life from the defense prospective," said DeVan.
Castro faces a 977-count indictment for charges that include rape, kidnapping and two counts of aggravated murder. His trial is set to begin Aug. 5. If attorneys go through with the trial, DeVan told NewsChannel5, "The problem would be trying the case, and the expense that it would take and the time that it would take."
More importantly, he said, is the toll a trial would take on Amanda, Gina and Michelle, all three most likely to testify if the case went to trial said Civil Rights Attorney and Legal Analyst Avery Friedman.
But does that mean Ariel Castro getting a plea deal equals justice to Amanda, Gina and Michelle?
Friedman weighed in, "I'm very optimistic that in a courtroom with Judge Michael Russo, with very good lawyers on both sides, it's time to end this. But on one level think about this - these young woman escaped on the sixth of May, 2013, and if this resolves tomorrow that means the case will have started and ended within 90 days - and that is swift justice."
NewsChannel5 will be carrying the 10 a.m. hearing live on all platforms: TV, mobile and online.