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Murder Charges in the Cleveland Horror

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When the story of the Cleveland horror first broke, I said that the crimes, however horrible, could not be capital because there was no murder.

Now we have learned more.  There may indeed have been murders in the house of horrors.  Brandon Blackwell reports for the Plain Dealer:

The man accused of kidnapping and imprisoning Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight in his home could face the death penalty, says Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty.

McGinty said Thursday that he will pursue charges against Ariel Castro "for each act of aggravated murder he committed by terminating pregnancies" during the women's decade of captivity.
The status of this crime as murder has not always been clear.  Back in 1970, the California Supreme Court halted a murder trial for a jealous husband who discovered his estranged wife was pregnant by another man, said "I'm going to stomp it out of you," and proceeded to do so.  See Keeler v. Superior Court, 2 Cal.3d 619.  The court held that the legislature did not intend for this crime to be within the murder statute.  The California Legislature had far more persons of sense then than it does now, and it swiftly corrected this misperception.

Ohio has a law along the same lines.  Under Ohio Revised Code ยง 2903.01, causing "the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy" is "aggravated murder" if done "with prior calculation or design" (subd. A) or while committing any of a list of felonies including kidnapping (subd. B).  Both seem to apply here.

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