Under the cloud of a media frenzy that required a no-fly zone, Josef Fritzl pleaded guilty today in an Austrian courthouse to rape and incest charges linked to the 24-year imprisonment of his daughter, the BBC reports. But the 74-year-old, who entered court with his face covered, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, enslavement, and assault—he has maintained that he locked up Elizabeth, then 18, to protect her from herself, and was to respond to her taped testimony detailing her horrifying captivity.
Fritzl is determined not to go down in history as a murderer and a madman, said his lawyer, and was to argue that he was a "good father." Elizabeth gave birth to seven of Fritzl's children in captivity, including a twin boy who died in infancy because Fritzl refused to obtain medical help, according to prosecutors. The trial begins today under extreme security precautions, including the imposition of a no-fly zone over the Austrian courthouse