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Courts and Crime

Cuyahoga judge orders mental competency evaluation for Castro
Russo says he wants to be sure before accepting defense motions, including a delay of Castro's trial

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M.L. Schultze
Ariel Castro, flanked by his lawyers, faces a competency evaluation.
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Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Michael Russo took the unusual step this morning of ordering Ariel Castro to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

The evaluation is not being done to determine Castro’s mental state during the decade he’s accused of kidnapping and imprisoning three women in his west side Cleveland home.  Rather Russo says he wants to be sure that Castro is capable of making decisions in his defense – including whether to waive Ohio’s speedy trial law.

Prosecutor Tim McGinty told the judge he understands his caution, but insists Castro is competent.

LISTEN: McGinty on Castro's competence

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“We have absolutely no doubt from the hours of tape and other evidence that he’s entirely competent, knows exactly what he’s doing now and did then. So we do not want the record to insinuate that there is any issue or anyone has the slightest issue that he might be incompetent. He isn’t in any  way."

The evaluation report is expected within 10 days.

McGinty also confirmed to the judge today that more charges are expected against Castro soon. The 52-year-old already faces more than 300 charges of kidnapping, rape, murder and assault.

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