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Ohio kidnapper pleads guilty to avoid death penalty

Washington, Jul 26 (EFE).- Ariel Castro, accused of kidnapping three girls and holding them captive for about a decade at his Ohio home, pleaded guilty on Friday, accepting a likely prison term of life without parole plus 1,000 years. At a preliminary hearing, defense lawyers reached a plea bargain with the prosecution that will avoid a possible death sentence for Castro. "You understand by accepting this plea, you're accepting life without parole," county Judge Michael Russo asked Castro. "You'll never leave prison alive." "Yes, I do," Castro responded.

Five people sentenced to jail for Costa Concordia disaster

By Silvia Ognibene and Naomi O'Leary ROME (Reuters) - Four Costa Concordia crew members and a company official were sentenced to jail in Italy on Saturday for their part in the 2012 cruise ship disaster that killed 32 people, leaving only the captain still on trial. The five received sentences of between 18 and 34 months for multiple manslaughter, negligence and shipwreck - relatively short terms for the crimes, in exchange for pleading guilty.

US kidnap suspect pleads not guilty to new charges

A US man accused of holding three woman captive in his home for a decade pleaded not guilty Wednesday to hundreds of new charges, as his lawyers sought a plea deal that would skirt the death penalty. Ariel Castro, a 53-year-old former school bus driver, is charged with kidnapping, rape and a host of other crimes in connection with the saga that allegedly unfolded at his home in Cleveland, Ohio. He is also charged with aggravated murder for allegedly terminating the pregnancies of one of his victims by starving and beating her -- a charge that can be punishable by death.

Captain requests plea bargain at Italy shipwreck trial

Cruise ship captain Francesco Schettino's defence requested a plea bargain deal at his trial for the Costa Concordia disaster on Wednesday, saying he was ready to serve three years and five months in prison. The request was made by lawyer Domenico Pepe after an earlier plea bargain bid was thrown out by the judge in charge of preliminary investigations into the disaster in which 32 people died. ide/dt/ric

Philippine court blocks general's graft plea bargain

The Philippine Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked efforts by a senior general facing massive graft charges to enter a plea bargain which would have let him post bail and walk free in a few years, keeping much of the money. The court issued an order which temporarily blocks a special anti-graft court from going ahead with the plea bargain deal involving former military comptroller Major General Carlos Garcia.

US soldier to admit Afghan massacre to escape death

A US soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers last year will plead guilty in exchange for escaping the death penalty, his lawyer said in remarks reported Wednesday. Sergeant Robert Bales is due to face a court-martial in September on charges including 16 counts of murder, six of attempted murder and seven of assault over the killings in southern Afghanistan in March last year. Seventeen of the 22 victims were women or children and almost all were shot in the head.

U.S. soldier expected to plead guilty to killing Afghans in cold blood

By Eric M. Johnson SEATTLE (Reuters) - A U.S. Army sergeant charged with killing 16 Afghan civilians in cold blood was due in court on Wednesday for a court-martial proceeding in which he is expected to plead guilty under a deal with military prosecutors to avoid the death penalty.

US judge accepts insanity plea over theater shooting

A US judge on Tuesday accepted a plea of not guilty due to insanity from James Holmes, accused of killing 12 people and wounding dozens in a Colorado theater shooting last year. Judge Carlos Samour agreed to the plea after reading out a list of conditions, including that the 25-year-old agree to undergo a court-ordered examination to determine if he is mentally competent.

Houston ex-police officer, charged in 2010 beating, goes to trial

By Andrea Lorenz HOUSTON (Reuters) - A former Houston police officer went on trial on Monday on charges related to the beating an unarmed teenage suspect in 2010 that was captured on a video that went viral, making national news in a racially charged case. Former police officer Drew Ryser, 32, is charged with official oppression, a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. He is accused of kneeing, kicking and pushing then-15-year-old Chad Holley's head into the ground.

US soldier to admit Afghan killings to escape death

A US soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers last year will plead guilty in exchange for escaping the death penalty and is sorry for what he did, his lawyers said Wednesday. Sergeant Robert Bales faces charges including 16 counts of murder, six of attempted murder and seven of assault over the massacre in southern Afghanistan in March last year. Seventeen of the 22 victims were women or children and almost all were shot in the head. Prosecutors called in November for him to face the death penalty, setting a provisional date for court-martial in September.
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