Cleveland Shields Castro's Home From Vigilantes

Ariel Castro's house needed for evidence at trial

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted May 13, 2013 7:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – The dilapidated house where three women were held for nearly a decade may seem like an odd structure to protect, but that's exactly what the city of Cleveland is doing. A 10-foot privacy fence is going up around Ariel Castro's home, reports the AP, in a bid to safeguard it from vigilantes who would like to burn it down. Police will also monitor the residence with 24/7 surveillance, the Daily Beast reports. The burn-it-down worries are based in some sort of reality: Threats to do just that have been floating around. But both prosecutors and the defense want the house to remain intact until Castro's trial concludes.

"The prosecutors are going to want to preserve it so they can take jurors into it to view, and the defense would want it preserved so at least they could do their own investigation," explains a law professor. It's unlikely the house would be needed once the trial ends; typically only evidence like weapons or fingerprints are preserved for appeals, he said. So what happens then? That's up to the neighbors as well as victims Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight, says a city councilman, and right now the neighbors, at least, want the place demolished. But first, thousands of dollars in unpaid tax liens on the house would have to be sorted out as the city attempts to control the property. In the end, Cleveland, not Castro, will likely have to pay for the demolition if it occurs.

In this Tuesday, May 7, 2013 file photo, members of the FBI evidence response team carry out the front screen door from the house where three women were held captive, in Cleveland.
In this Tuesday, May 7, 2013 file photo, members of the FBI evidence response team carry out the front screen door from the house where three women were held captive, in Cleveland.   (Tony Dejak)
This undated file photo provided by Cuyahoga County Jail shows Ariel Castro.
This undated file photo provided by Cuyahoga County Jail shows Ariel Castro.   (Uncredited)
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