September 10th, 2013
04:57 PM ET

Ariel Castro suicide: Two guards placed on leave

Two Ohio correctional officers have been placed on leave as investigators look into the suicide of Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction told CNN.

Caleb Ackley and Ryan Murphy, both hired in 2007, were on duty in the prison unit where Castro was housed the night he hanged himself.

Castro, 52, was found hanged with a bedsheet September 3, coroner Dr. Jan Gorniak said. He was being held at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient.

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Castro's victims resilient after torment
August 2nd, 2013
05:08 AM ET

Castro's victims resilient after torment

They were living in hell, and Ariel Castro did all he could to make sure they'd never escape.

He tied and chained them up, removed handles from doors and replaced them with padlocks. He rigged entrances to the house with makeshift alarms, threatened them with a gun and fed them only once a day.

He covered windows to keep them out of view and sunlight out of their rooms.

But Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus focused on the light at the end of the long, dark tunnel.

They nurtured the faith that they would one day be free. They clung to each other. They persevered and emerged from years of hell to find new life.

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Cleveland kidnapper gets life, plus 1,000 years
Before apologizing to his victims, Ariel Castro said in court that he was "not a monster, I'm just sick."
August 1st, 2013
02:39 PM ET

Cleveland kidnapper gets life, plus 1,000 years

After a statement from Ariel Castro - the Cleveland man who held three women captive and sexually abused them for the better part of a decade - and powerful words from one of his victims, a judge sentenced him Thursday to life in prison plus 1,000 years.

Judge Michael Russo called the sentence "commensurate with the harm you've done."

"There is no place in this city, there is no place in this country, there is no place in this world for those who enslave others," Russo said.

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May 18th, 2013
09:53 AM ET

Plea to officers: 'Please don't let me go'

When officers arrived at Ariel Castro's home in Cleveland, a crowd had formed on the porch.

But where was the woman they came for? Where was Amanda Berry?

Then she stepped forward, holding a crying baby. It was really her, the missing girl they had searched for for 10 years.

It is Amanda Berry, Officer Michael Tracy said.

"Just the emotion at that point of my partner confirming that it was Amanda ... It was overwhelming," Officer Anthony Espada recalled.

Cleveland police this week released the emotional video interviews of officers Espada, Tracy and Barbara Johnson, who helped in the May 6 rescue of the three women from Castro's home.

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May 13th, 2013
07:44 AM ET

Castro's brothers: Ariel fooled us

Ariel Castro's brothers no longer refer to him as kin. Instead, they call him "a monster" who should rot in jail after being accused of kidnapping and holding three young women hostage in his home for a decade.

"I had nothing to do with this, and I don't know how my brother got away with it for so many years," Pedro Castro, 54, said when he and brother Onil Castro, 50, sat down for an exclusive interview with CNN's Martin Savidge this weekend.

When the story first broke, the world saw all three brothers as suspects after Cleveland police arrested them last Monday and released their mugshots. It was not until Thursday that Pedro and Onil Castro were freed and investigators said the brothers had no involvement in the kidnappings.

Ariel Castro, a 52-year-old former school bus driver, remains in a Cleveland jail on $8 million bond. He's charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape.

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Filed under: Cleveland • Crime • Ohio
May 10th, 2013
07:51 AM ET

Cleveland suspect could face murder counts

First came the pain a decade of torture, torment and terror for three captive women and one of their young daughters.

Now comes the prosecution and if there's a conviction punishment for the man accused of being responsible for their hell.

Ariel Castro appeared silently in court Thursday, his head down, as he was arraigned on four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape, accused of holding the women captive in his Cleveland home. Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Lauren Moore ordered Castro held on $8 million bond $2 million for each of the three women and the child born to Amanda Berry before they were freed Monday evening.

Hours later, the top prosecutor in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, announced he'd press for more charges "for each and every act of sexual violence ... each day of kidnapping, every felonious assault (and) all his attempted murders."

Furthermore, Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said he'd try to persuade a grand jury to indict the 52-year-old Castro for "aggravated murder" for the termination of his captives' pregnancies. He cited a state law that a person can be charged with murder - a conviction that could lead to the death penalty in Ohio - for killing unborn children.

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May 10th, 2013
07:45 AM ET

'He is dead to me,' Ohio suspect's daughter says

Seldom does a daughter use such harsh words to describe her own father.

Ariel Castro's daughter called him "the most evil, vile, demonic criminal" she ever heard of during a CNN exclusive interview Thursday.

"He is dead to me," Angie Gregg said of the father police say kidnapped, held captive, raped and beat three young women in Cleveland for about a decade.

She had known her "daddy" as a "friendly, caring, doting man."

Now shocked and in disbelief, Gregg says she never wants to see him again.

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May 8th, 2013
03:48 PM ET

2 once-missing Cleveland women return home

Two of the three women rescued from a Cleveland home where they'd been held for about a decade or more returned home Wednesday while police readied charges against the men accused of keeping them captive.

Well-wishers from the neighborhood cheered as a gray van carrying Amanda Berry and the 6-year-old daughter she gave birth to during her captivity pulled up. The porch was decorated with balloons and stuffed animals and draped with a red banner that read, "Welcome home Amanda."

"We are so happy to have Amanda and her daughter home," her sister, Beth Serrano, told reporters. "I want to thank the public and media for their support and courage over the years."

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May 7th, 2013
07:55 AM ET

Cops find 3 women missing for years

Amanda Berry was last seen after finishing her shift at a Burger King in Cleveland in 2003. It was the eve of her 17th birthday.

Georgina "Gina" DeJesus disappeared nearly a year later, in April 2004. She was 14.

Michele Knight vanished in 2002, at age 19, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper.

All three were found alive in a home in a Cleveland neighborhood Monday night, police announced in a development hailed as a miracle by their families.

"Help me, I am Amanda Berry," Berry told police in a frantic 911 call from a neighbor's house. "I've been kidnapped, and I've been missing for 10 years. And I'm here, I'm free now."

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Ohio school shooter faces sentencing
March 19th, 2013
03:30 AM ET

Ohio school shooter faces sentencing

T.J. Lane took a .22 caliber gun to school just over a year ago in northeastern Ohio.

Without saying a word, he walked up to a table in the cafeteria of Chardon High School and opened fire.

He killed three and wounded three more.

On Tuesday, Lane finds out what price he will pay for his crime when he is sentenced.

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February 22nd, 2013
11:47 AM ET

Report: Plane skids off Cleveland runway

A plane landing at Cleveland's international airport skidded off the runway on Friday, CNN affiliate WJW reported.

This comes as snow and rain have slammed the East and Midwest.

No injuries were reported.

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Ohio school-shooting suspect to be tried as adult
T.J. Lane is accused of shooting students in the Chardon High School cafeteria in February.
May 24th, 2012
12:28 PM ET

Ohio school-shooting suspect to be tried as adult

A 17-year-old accused of killing three students and injuring others during a shooting at an Ohio high school this year will be tried as an adult, Geauga County Judge Timothy Grendell has ruled.

T.J. Lane is charged with three counts of aggravated murder, two of attempted aggravated murder and one of felonious assault in connection with February shooting at Chardon High School, about 30 miles east of Cleveland.

Authorities said Lane opened fire on students in Chardon High School's cafeteria.

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5 arrested in alleged plot to blow up Cleveland-area bridge
The FBI released these images of the defendants Tuesday morning.
May 1st, 2012
10:18 AM ET

5 arrested in alleged plot to blow up Cleveland-area bridge

[Updated at 12:06 p.m. ET] Five men have been arrested on suspicion of trying to use what they thought were explosives to destroy a bridge near Cleveland, Ohio, the FBI said Tuesday morning.

Some of the men on Monday planted what they thought were two remotely activated C-4-based explosive devices which they allegedly bought from an undercover FBI employee  at the base of  a Route 82 bridge that crosses from Brecksville to Sagamore Hills over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the FBI said in a news conference Tuesday.

The devices actually were inoperable and posed no threat to the public, and the FBI arrested the men shortly after the devices were planted, authorities said.

Douglas L. Wright, 26; Brandon L. Baxter, 20; and Anthony Hayne, 35, were arrested by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force on Monday evening on charges of conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce, the FBI said.

Also arrested were Connor C. Stevens, 20; and Joshua S. Stafford, 23. Their charges were pending.

Three of the men are self-proclaimed anarchists, the FBI said in a news release.

"The public was never in danger from explosive devices," the FBI said.

The group initially planned to "topple financial institution signs atop high rise buildings in downtown Cleveland" while co-conspirators used smoke grenades to distract law enforcement, according to the FBI. But the plot evolved into plans for using explosive to destroy bridges or other targets, and the group finally decided on the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge, which carries Route 82 over the national park, the FBI said.

Some of the defendants, after they planted the devices, intended to detonate them from a remote location that they believed was safe and could provide them with an alibi, authorities said at Tuesday's news conference.

The FBI learned of the plots through a confidential source who met Wright at a Cleveland-area protest event in November, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. district court. Wright told the source that Wright and a group of anarchists "had been discussing plans involving violence and destruction to physical property ... to send a message to corporations and the United States government," the complaint reads.

“The complaint in this case alleges that the defendants took specific and defined actions to further a terrorist plot,” U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach said in the news release. “The defendants stand charged based not upon any words or beliefs they might espouse, but based upon their own plans and actions.”

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February 27th, 2012
02:13 PM ET

Student shot at Ohio high school dies, police say

More on this story from CNN affiliates WOIO-TV, WEWS-TV, WJW-TV and WKYC-TV.

iReport: Are you there? Let us know but please stay safe.

[Updated at 4:04 p.m. ET] Chardon Police Chief Timothy McKenna said in a press conference today that two of the victims in Monday's shootings were in critical condition, one was in serious condition and one was in stable condition.

[Updated at 2:58 p.m. ET] Danny Komertz, a student at Chardon High School said that he saw shooter T.J. lane point a gun directly at a group of students before shooting them.

"I looked straight ahead and I saw a gun pointing at a group of four guys sitting at a table and he was able two feet away from them," Komertz said. "He just fired two quick shots at them. I saw one student fall. I saw the other hiding, trying to get cover underneath the table."

Komertz said that he felt that by his demeanor, the shooter was targeting that group.

"It was clearly to me that he was aiming right at them," Komertz told CNN. "He wasn't shooting around the cafeteria at all. He was directly aiming at the four of them."

Komertz said he then ran out the door with his friends. While he was trying to escape he said he heard another two shots fired from behind him.

"I just can't believe it. I don't think it's real," said student Danny Komertz, who witnessed the shooting. "And I just, it kills me that I saw someone hiding, and now that someone is now dead."

[Updated at 2:13 p.m. ET] A fatally wounded student was identified by the hospital that treated him as Daniel Parmertor.

"We are shocked by this senseless tragedy," Parmertor's family said in a statement released by MetroHealth Medical Center. "Danny was a bright young boy who had a bright future ahead of him. The family is torn by this loss. We ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time."

[Updated 1:19 p.m. ET] A student who hid in a classroom at Chardon High School said that T.J. Lane, the suspect in Monday's shooting, "was a nice guy" who he never suspected would shoot anyone.

“He just came from a really broken down home and he was living with his grandparents," Evan Erasmus, a senior at the school told CNN.  "He was more of a quiet type of kid. He was really nice, though, if you did talk to him.”

Erasmus said that Lane and some of the victims "used to be friends" but more in middle school and early high school.

“He was one of the nicest kids there…," Erasmus said. "It was really shocking that it was him.”

Erasmus told CNN that he believed T.J. Lane was either a sophomore or junior at the school.

He said that Lane was sitting about a table away from some of the victims.

Erasmus said he heard the victims "were all sitting there and then he just stood up and that’s when it all started."

Meanwhile, he and the other students in a nearby classroom, "turned the lights off and we headed into a corner" after the shooting.

[Updated 12:52 p.m. ET] Witnesses and one of the shooting victims have identified the gunman as T.J. Lane, according to The Plain Dealer of Cleveland.

[Updated 12:04 p.m. ET] Police say one student has died from the shootings at Chardon High School this morning. Five students were shot in total, officials said.

[Updated 11:58 a.m. ET] A parent of children who attend Chardon High School says the gunman in today's shooting had specific targets and was not shooting randomly, according to a report from CNN affiliate WJW-TV.

[Updated 11:43 a.m. ET] The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says it has been given one handgun from the Ohio high school shooting scene to do an emergency trace.

The Geauga County sheriff's office is executing searches in the case with the assistance of ATF agents, a law enforcement official said.

[Updated 11:13 a.m. ET] Geauga County Sheriff Daniel McClelland says a K-9 unit tracked the shooting suspect, who was apprehended "some distance from the school," according to a report on CNN affiliate WJW-TV.

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Ohio jury convicts Anthony Sowell in Cleveland-area serial killings
Anthony Sowell , who used an insanity defense, will face the death penalty.
July 22nd, 2011
03:27 PM ET

Ohio jury convicts Anthony Sowell in Cleveland-area serial killings

An Ohio jury on Friday found Anthony Sowell guilty in connection with the aggravated murders, kidnappings and sexual assaults of 11 women in Cleveland between 2007 and 2009.

The jury took less than three days to convict Sowell, who pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to 85 counts, among them, murder, abuse of a corpse, kidnapping and tampering with evidence.

Sowell turned and offered his hands to a sheriff's deputy to be handcuffed as Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Dick Ambrose read the first guilty verdict for the aggravated murder of Tonia Carmichael with a sexual motivation. In the gallery, Carmichael's mother and daughter hugged each other as the verdict was read.

The judge took nearly an hour to read all the verdicts. The jurors found him guilty on 84 counts, with the sole not guilty verdict coming on an aggravated robbery charge.

Investigators discovered the remains of the 11 women ages 25 to 52 in Sowell's home beginning in October 2009. Since then, other women have come forward alleging that Sowell attacked them.

11 bodies, one house of horrors: Why Cleveland women were 'invisible'

Police believe the women were easy prey for Sowell, a convicted sex offender who served 15 years for the attempted rape of a woman in 1989. Most of the women had struggled with drug addiction at some point and court records showing that many resorted to stealing and prostitution to support their habits.

With the conviction, Sowell faces the death penalty. Prosecutors received a report from an expert working with the defense, claiming Sowell suffers from several mental illnesses, including obsessive compulsiveness and post traumatic stress disorder, according to CNN affiliate WOIO.

Defense rests in case of accused Ohio serial killer
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'Badass' rock critic dead at 92
Jane Scott wrote about rock 'n' roll for The Cleveland Plain Dealer from 1964 to 2002.
July 5th, 2011
10:22 AM ET

'Badass' rock critic dead at 92

Jane Scott, who broke down stereotypes, barriers and ceilings as a rock 'n' roll journalist, has died at 92, her former newspaper announced.

"You can't underestimate the importance of Jane Scott. When it comes to music, when it comes to journalism she invented rock criticism. It was her life and she lived it," Michael Heaton, a former colleague at The Cleveland Plain Dealer, told CNN affiliate WJW-TV.

The Plain Dealer said Scott's first day working there was March 24, 1952, three days after the world's first rock concert the Moondog Coronation Ball put on by radio legend Alan Freed at the Cleveland Arena.

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Clevelanders laughing as LeBron loses
LeBron James reacts during Sunday night's NBA Finals game against the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki is at rear.
June 13th, 2011
08:02 AM ET

Clevelanders laughing as LeBron loses

When the Dallas Mavericks finished off the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night, the happiness in Dallas may have been eclipsed in only one place, Cleveland, the city that Heat star LeBron James left to take his talents to South Beach.

CNN affiliate WOIO-TV in Cleveland had a one-word headline on its sports page under a picture of James holding up his Heat jersey: "LOSER!"

"LeBron James still has no rings,"  the site's story began.

Cleveland.com quickly jumped on James' failure to bring a championship to Miami, something he promised would happen multiple times when he and former Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh joined Heat superstar Dwayne Wade in Miami.

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