Cleveland kidnapper may face death penalty — for beating pregnant captive until she miscarried

posted at 8:01 pm on May 9, 2013 by Allahpundit

“Wait,” you say, “can’t he get the death penalty for kidnapping, imprisoning, and raping three girls over and over again for 10 years?” Why, no. Our Supreme Court, in its wisdom, decided a few years ago that it would amount to cruel and unusual punishment to give the needle to a degenerate like this “merely” for raping children repeatedly. As a matter of constitutional law, due to society’s “evolving standards of decency,” only a crime that results in death can carry a capital sentence. Which is interesting, because I’d bet if you polled Americans today, you’d get upwards of 60-70 percent (and maybe more) to say that it’d be quite decent indeed to kill this guy, and not in a painless way like lethal injection either. Like I said when that SCOTUS decision was handed down, the irony of barring the death penalty for child-rapists due to “evolving standards” is that American society’s become much more sensitive to the psychological damage done to the victims of sexual crimes, especially when the victim is a child. The public’s “evolved” towards a fuller appreciation of the toll taken on the innocent and may, understandably, desire a penalty commensurate with that toll. But it can’t have it, even in a case like this where there’s zero doubt as to guilt or innocence.

So why is the prosecutor in Cleveland talking about death anyway? Because: Under Ohio law, killing a woman’s child when it’s in the womb — if it’s against her wishes — constitutes aggravated murder. Which, apparently, is what Castro did. Five separate times:

The police report described a nightmare scenario in which Ms. Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were taken to Mr. Castro’s home and chained in the basement. Although the chains were later removed and they moved upstairs, they were all forced to have sex with Mr. Castro, the women told police.

Ms. Knight told police she had become pregnant five times, with Mr. Castro starving her and punching her in the stomach each time until she miscarried, according to the report.

Ms. Berry told police she had given birth to her daughter, Jocelyn, in a plastic pool. Ms. Knight described delivering the baby and reviving her at one point with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, under threat of death from Mr. Castro if she let the child die, according to the report.

Ms. DeJesus also said she had sex with Mr. Castro, but told police she didn’t think she had become pregnant.

One of the victims’ cousins told the NYT that he would serve them cake on the anniversary of their kidnappings to celebrate their abductions. That’s what we’re dealing with here.

Ace was all over the death-penalty angle the other day, incidentally. Here’s the relevant statute in Ohio:

2903.01 Aggravated murder.

(A) No person shall purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy…

(F) Whoever violates this section is guilty of aggravated murder, and shall be punished as provided in section 2929.02 of the Revised Code.

Section 2929.02 puts death on the table for aggravated murder. “But wait,” you say, “doesn’t charging this piece of garbage with murder necessarily mean that the fetuses he killed in the womb are persons”? Why, yes. Courts and legislatures have been wrestling with that contradiction, where a fetus is something less than a person for purposes of lawful abortion but a full person for purposes of “unlawful termination,” since Roe was decided. There is a way to square the circle conceptually, but abortion warriors don’t like it: Instead of trying to redefine a fetus as something other than a “life,” they could acknowledge that it’s a life and then treat lawful abortion as a form of justifiable homicide. (That’s what Charles Murray does, for instance.) A “justifiable homicide” rationale for abortion essentially puts mom and doctor in the role of state-sanctioned executioners: Just as it’s okay for the state’s lethal-injection technician to execute a man on death row but not okay for you or me to kill him, it’s okay for a pregnant woman to authorize the killing but not for her degenerate kidnapper-rapist to punch her in the stomach until she miscarries. Having the word “homicide” attached to one of your most cherished policy priorities isn’t good messaging, though, and needing to explain repeatedly why killing a baby is “justifiable” is an unhappy prospect. So instead pro-choicers typically resort to the Orwellian rationale that a fetus in the womb isn’t a “person” and merely has the “potential” for life — unless and until the fetus is killed against the mother’s will, in which case it’s murder one and the prosecutor is empowered to apply the needle.

We need two separate poll questions asked of the public. Hopefully Rasmussen or Gallup or Pew or someone is game. Question one: Does Ariel Castro deserve death? Question two: Does Ariel Castro deserve death for forcing one of his captives to miscarry? I wonder if the number who say yes to question one will be greater than the number who say yes to question two, as illogical as that may be.

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I wonder we don’t know what party affiliation this fella belongs to yet?


Registered Democrat………… Surprise!!!!

Kuffar on May 10, 2013 at 11:32 AM

As a fan of Fox and Hot Air, I deplore both for adding to the hype on these tabloid trash stories: The Cleveland kidnapping and the Arias case. Hyped coverage of crap like this diminishes the seriousness of both Fox and Hot Air.

petefrt on May 9, 2013 at 8:59 PM

HLN is totally guilty of making the Jodi Whatshername case out to be more than what it actually was. They even ignored covering actual breaking news throughout the trial, including the vast majority of the Boston Marathon Bombing and the subsequent manhunt. They can no longer be classified as a “news” network.

And you and I know HLN will do massive saturation coverage of the Castro trial which will make the Casey Anthony trial look like child’s play. It will be the next “Trial of the Century.”

Myron Falwell on May 10, 2013 at 11:48 AM

It saddened me that the authorities never took Knight’s disappearance seriously. Now, learning of the torture and multiple forced miscarriages, I hope she is under the care of someone other than social workers and government provided (committee controlled) shrinks. Good luck, Michelle, and God bless.

tuffy on May 9, 2013 at 10:22 PM

Very, very sad and extremely infuriating. Being in the area and learning of Michelle’s dysfunctional family background regarding her mother, her original mental health disability, the disregard of her disappearance by the Cleveland police and social workers, all combined with the brutality of the torture, rapes, miscarriages and beatings she endured (that have left her with permanent facial disfiguration and hearing loss) you can’t help but grieve especially for her.

For all intent and purposes, it doesn’t appear that Michelle has any strong family ties to fall back upon, who will help her in her long-term recovery.

GrannyDee on May 9, 2013 at 10:40 PM

Not to mention she was already 20 when she was kidnapped, which led for many to assume she simply ran away without a trace. It really is tragic that she slipped through the cracks the way she did… so much so that even the local newscasters were dumbfounded as to how they never covered it. There probably is a fair degree of soul-searching going on right now on multiple fronts.

This story is why I’m proud to be from Northern Ohio. There’s a special bond that many of us here are feeling with this story.

Myron Falwell on May 10, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Between this and Gosnell we’re discovering that America’s abortion laws make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

29Victor on May 10, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Just don’t get excited about the idea of the death penalty for this guy. It won’t happen.

Carnac on May 10, 2013 at 8:34 AM

I’ll disagree and say it is possible he gets the death penalty. But it will take somewhere around 20 years after all the appeals and clemency requests are exhausted. He might either naturally pass away, get murdered (a la Dahmer) or commit suicide beforehand.

Either option would be okay with me as long as its of least expense to us the taxpayer.

Myron Falwell on May 10, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Here is a scary thought. What if he gets off for some reason and tries to get custody?

cptacek on May 10, 2013 at 1:22 AM

He’d have no choice but to go into hiding, if not for his own safety. Not just Cleveland… the entire region would literally be up in arms.

In fact, it’s only a matter of when his court-appointed public defendant attempts to get the trial moved out of the city on grounds that he can’t get a fair trial here.

And that’s not taking the HLN ghouls into account.

Myron Falwell on May 10, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Here’s a statement from Michelle Knight released to the public earlier today:

CLEVELAND — For the first time since her safe return from over 10 years in captivity, we’re hearing from Michelle Knight.

MetroHealth Medical Center released the following statement Friday morning on her behalf:

“Michelle Knight is in good spirits and would like the community to know that she is extremely grateful for the outpouring of flowers and gifts. She is especially thankful for the Cleveland Courage Fund. She asks that everyone please continue to respect her privacy at this time.”

Knight is recovering at Metro since her rescue from Ariel Castro’s Seymour Avenue home on Monday.

Investigators believe she was lured into Castro’s car back in 2002, making her the first of three women to be kidnapped then held by Castro.

This is a breaking news update. Stick with Fox 8 News and for updates as they become available.

Myron Falwell on May 10, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Anyone know whether this POS was here legally?

V7_Sport on May 10, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Cleveland kidnapper may face death penalty — for beating pregnant captive until she miscarried

To channel H. Clinton, “What difference does it make?” What makes this guy a murderer and your friendly neighborhood abortionist a hero? Either way the child’s just as dead. From God’s perspective they’re both murderers. One’s just got the imprimatur of the State while the other doesn’t.

Mojave Mark on May 10, 2013 at 7:31 PM

Maybe this was asked in the priors, but how can he get the death penalty for killing when a fetus isn’t a person? What exactly is the leftist scientific definition du jour of a fetus, or the beginning of life? Apparently it has never been a heartbeat.

God bless these women. I hope they get all of the professional help they need – versus a schmoe with a stethoscope.

Yellowdog12 on May 10, 2013 at 9:38 PM

Rape and kidnapping used to be considered Capital Crimes. I think that its time to start considering them just that again.

famous amos on May 10, 2013 at 9:47 PM

IDK if anyone else has pointed this out but there are going to be serious problems with getting this piece of filth in humanoid format convicted of any death penalty offense. Do I think he should be? Yes. Do I firmly believe that his special place in the deepest depths of Hell is being readied as I type this? It’s been getting warmed up for a long time. The problem is going to be, and I say this as a nearly 26 year prosecutor, there isn’t likely to be any physical evidence of the pregnancies or miscarriages caused by the beatings. Would I be happy to be wrong? Ecstatic, but I seriously doubt that there will be any medical records or any witness other than the victim(s) to prove that these things happened and, unfortunately, all too often there is much that we know that we simply cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

Lammo on May 11, 2013 at 1:45 AM

“Maybe this was asked in the priors, but how can he get the death penalty for killing when a fetus isn’t a person? What exactly is the leftist scientific definition du jour of a fetus, or the beginning of life?”

OJ is locked up for theft of his football paraphenalia. We couldn’t get him for murder because his jury was too dumb to breathe and prejudiced to boot, but he’s locked up nevertheless. So something about the system ultmately worked. The current Castro deserves the death penalty, and if they have to throw everything plus the kitchen sink at him to see what sticks, I’m fine with that.

NahnCee on May 11, 2013 at 1:17 PM

I say no death penalty and here is why:
If he gets death he’ll be on death row for 20 years.
Just give him life and put him and his armanos in the general population.

They’ll die a horrid death within a week.

esnap on May 12, 2013 at 10:12 AM

V7_Sport on May 10, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the US.

esnap on May 12, 2013 at 10:14 AM

I favor any spelling that is shorter

thru for through
tho for though
plow for plough
aint for “am not” aka amn’t
thain’t for “they aren’t”
ampersand for “and per se and”
nickname for “an ick name”
Coke for Pepsi, root beer, Dr Pepper, soda water et al.

Those are all crumulent words and it embiggens us all to use them.


esnap on May 12, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Rape and kidnapping used to be considered Capital Crimes. I think that its time to start considering them just that again.

famous amos on May 10, 2013 at 9:47 PM

At the absolute minimum we should have the spine for the death penalty to murderers convicted with DNA evidence.

Refusing to execute a murderer less is an implicit statement that the person who lost their life (probably in brutal fashion) is worth less than the monster who took it. To quote an old example, the punk who pulls a gun on a clerk at the 7/11 has just stated that he values the clerk’s life less than the $50 in the register, and should be treated accordingly.

MelonCollie on May 12, 2013 at 1:39 PM