Plea deal offer reported in Cleveland kidnap case

Ariel Castro, Craig Weintraub, Jaye Schlachet

CLEVELAND (AP) — A plea deal could be in the works for a man charged with kidnapping three women and raping them in his Cleveland home for about a decade.

Several media outlets reported Thursday a deal has been offered to resolve the case against former school bus driver Ariel Castro, who faces a 977-count indictment and has pleaded not guilty.

The prosecutor’s office has declined to comment.

Defense attorney Jaye Schlachet (SLAH’-chet) tells The Associated Press offers and counteroffers can be expected in the plea negotiations confirmed previously. He has declined to specify if a definitive deal had been offered but says he expects to be in court on the matter Friday.

The sticking point has been whether the prosecutor would rule out the death penalty as demanded by the defense. The prosecutor has that issue under review.

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