Ariel Castro, the Ohio man who imprisoned 3 women in his Cleveland home for over a decade, will plead not guilty to multiple charges of kidnapping and rape, say his attorneys.
"The initial portrayal of him is one of a quote 'monster,' and that is not the impression that I got," said one of his two attorneys, Craig Weintraub, during an interview that aired on Wednesday's Today show.
"He is a human being, but what is offensive is that the women and the media want to demonize this man before they know the whole story, and I think it's unfair and not equitable," added Castro's co-counsel, attorney Jaye Schlachet.
Castro's attorneys portray him as a misunderstood, loving father who only wants the best for the 6-year-old girl he fathered with one of his captives, Amanda Berry, now 27.
"I am aware of how he came in contact with them," Weintraub told NBC News, referring to Berry, Georgina DeJesus, 24, and Michelle Knight, 32.
Berry was 16 when she vanished in 2003 after calling her sister to say someone offered her a ride home from work. DeJesus was 15 when she disappeared while walking home from school in 2004. Knight was 20 when she was kidnapped in 2002. All 3 women were offered rides by Castro who then drove them to his home on Seymour Avenue and chained them up in his basement.
DNA tests confirmed Castro, 52, is the father of Berry's 6-year-old daughter, Jocelyn, who was born in an inflatable kiddie pool in Castro's basement. Her birth was never registered with the county.
Castro's lawyers say their client is a loving father who is very concerned for his daughter.
"Mr. Castro is extremely committed to the well-being and positive future of his daughter, who he loves and cares about," said Weintraub.
These same two attorneys also defended notorious Cleveland serial killer Anthony Sowell, who was sentenced to death after the bodies of 11 women were found in his home and back yard.
Castro is being held on $8 million bond in the Cuyahoga County jail cell in isolation. He is under 24-hour suicide watch.
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