Judge Wants Castro Tested for Competency

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A judge wants Ariel Castro tested for competency.

Castro appeared in court Wednesday morning for a pretrial hearing in the kidnapping cases of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight.

The three women escaped from Castro’s home May 6 after being held captive nearly 10 years. Castro has pleaded not guilty to 329 charges including aggravated murder, rape and kidnapping in connection with the case.

Judge Michael Russo Wednesday ordered the test to begin as soon as possible and is hoping to have the results back in a week.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty said he understands the judge’s decision but believes Castro is competent.

“He isn’t in any way incompetent and knows exactly what he is doing,” McGinty said.

Castro’s attorney, Craig Weintraub, also said he believes his client is competent.

Weintraub said he has not yet gotten to visit Castro’s Seymour Avenue home and hopes to soon review documents in the case, including a journal and written notes of at least one of the three victims.

Another pretrial has been set for next Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the following statements were issued following the hearing on behalf of Berry, DeJesus and 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. 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.”

“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.

Stick with Fox 8 and Fox8.com for more on this developing story.

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Darcie Loreno June 26, 20139:07 am

Defense attorneys have arrived and headed to the judge’s chambers. Proceedings should soon begin.

Darcie Loreno June 26, 20139:32 am

The hearing is now beginning. Ariel Castro enters the courtroom with his head down.

Darcie Loreno June 26, 20139:35 am

Judge Michael Russo: Referring Castro for a competency evaluation to be conducted tomorrow, to assist attorneys in defense and to ensure Castro understands the proceedings and charges against him.

Darcie Loreno June 26, 20139:40 am

Darcie Loreno June 26, 20139:40 am

The hearing has concluded.