Ariel Castro plea 'to avoid unnecessary murder trial'

Ariel Castro's lawyer Craig Weintraub made a brief statement after his client entered a plea of not guilty saying it was the first step in the legal process.

"Although certain charges in the indictment cannot be disputed a not-guilty plea [..] requires the prosecutor continue to evaluate the case to determine whether [...] evidence can actually support an aggravated murder conviction for the death of a foetus and whether the death penalty is warranted."

A pretrial hearing was set for June 19.

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Ohio 'kidnapper' not guilty plea

Ariel Castro has pleaded not guilty to holding three women captive in his home in Ohio for a decade and raping them.