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Lawyers: Ariel Castro To Plead Not Guilty, Says He's 'Not A Monster,' But Rather A Loving Father


May 15 2013, Published 8:14 a.m. ET

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Ariel Castro's attorneys Craig Weintraub and Jaye Schlachet Tuesday told Cleveland's WKYC-TV their client is not a monster, and plans to plead "not guilty to all charges" of rape and kidnapping against him.

"The initial portrayal by the media has been one of a 'monster' and that's not the impression that I got when I talked to him for three hours," Weintraub said. "I know that family members who have been interviewed by the media have expressed that as well."

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Weintraub, asked how the women wound up in the home for such a long time, said, "That fact will be disclosed as the case progresses. I am aware of how he came into contact with them."

As for the daughter he fathered with Berry, Schlachet painted a portrait of Castro as a doting dad, saying he's "extremely committed to the well being and positive future for his daughter, who he loves dearly.

"And if people find that to be a disconnect from what he's alleged to have done, then the people will just have to deal with it . We just know how he feels about his little girl."

Amanda Berry

Castro, 52, is charged with rape and kidnapping three women -- Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, and keeping them captive for around a decade; he remains in custody at the Cuyahoga County Jail.

"I know the media wants to jump to conclusions and all the people in the community want to say terrible things about the person who's accused, but we are not even at the beginning of the process," Schlachet said of the wall-to-wall coverage the case has received. "If this was a marathon race, we're not even at the starting line yet."

Weintraub said his job in this case, along with Schlachet, is "to make sure that people can exercise their constitutional rights to have an attorney and a fair trial.

"This is simply to ensure the integrity of the process," the lawyer said, "and if that means that you have to take on difficult or hard cases then so be it, and I've elected to do that."

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