CLEVELAND-- A bedraggled Ariel Castro looked more like a victim than a victimizer as he sheepishly took his first steps inside a Cleveland courtroom early Thursday morning. The 52-year-old made no eye contact as he hung his head, the collar of his prison jumpsuit firmly clenched between his teeth as if he was trying to disappear behind its dark blue fabric.
"He has lived in the area for 39 years,” Public Defender Kathleen DeMetz told the court at the start of Castro’s preliminary hearing, “He is on unemployment compensation and to the best of my knowledge, he has no convictions," she said.
Typically defense attorneys will present their clients to the court in favorable terms before asking for a low bond. DeMetz made no such request.
Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Brian Murphy, however, made a horrifying case as to why a high bond should be set for the man accused of holding Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and her six-year-old daughter captive inside his Seymour Avenue home for about a decade.
“Also while in captivity they withstood repeated beatings, they were bound and restrained and sexually assaulted, basically never free to leave this residence," said Murphy.
The tables have turned for Castro since his arrest Monday night, when the three women and the little girl broke free from their prison inside his home.
Castro's hands were bound during his court appearance; his every move directed by an officer of the court. Castro’s despair is of such concern to authorities that he has been placed on suicide watch inside the city jail.
“I would imagine that the county will also place them in single cells on suicide watch in a protected area so that no one has access to him. I'm 99.9% sure they will do that,” said DeMetz, while surrounded by a crush of news media.