Despite what appears to be overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the lawyers for Ariel Castro say he's not the monstrous kidnapper and rapist that "the media" has portrayed him to be. Attorneys Craig Weintraub and Jaye Schlachet say they plan to mount the best defense they can, which will start with a not guilty plea and a change of venue request for any eventual trial.
Schlachet told Cleveland's NBC affiliate that "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 Castro is not a "monster." The lawyers added that Castro loves his daughter (who was born to one of the kidnapping victims, Amanda Berry) and is "extremely committed to [her] well being and positive future."
And even though media reports have suggested that Castro has provided police with numerous details of the abductions and claimed to have a sex addiction, his lawyers insist he has not confessed to any crime yet. Weintraub also gave a cryptic answer, when asked how the women ended up in Castro's home if he didn't do anything wrong:
"That fact will be disclosed as the case progresses. I am aware of how he came into contact with them."
Though "not guilty" pleas are hardly unusual, even in cases that appear to be slam dunks, it's hard to see how Castro's attorneys plan to argue that he didn't keep three women locked in his house for nearly a decade, or that the crimes are not as horrible as the public has been led to believe. There is, however, one point on which Schlachet is definitely correct: "We are not even at the beginning of the process. If this was a marathon race, we're not even at the starting line yet."