Monday 13 May 2013

Can  Ariel  Castro  really  be  sentenced   to  death  for  murder?       


This kidnapper and rapist will undoubtedly be convicted of kidnapping and rape but will he also be convicted of murder and sentenced to death for that murder?


The most important question that must be answered in court with respect to the charge of murder what this kidnapper and rapist is facing is whether or not the fetus in each instance was a living human being. If it was a living human being when Castrol caused its death, then he can be convicted of first degree murder. Nevertheless, this would not be a very difficult issue for his jury to decide. I will explain why later in this article.


There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that if he caused the mother of the fetus to miscarriage, the fetus prior to that horrible deed was a living entity. If it wasn’t a living entity, it would not have grown in its mother’s womb up to the time when its mother had her forced miscarriage brought upon her by Castro, her captor. I will now give you an explanation as to the development of the human being in Castro’s victim’s body because in understanding how a human being developed from the 25th day from conception to birth will give you some idea of the status of those little human beings when Castro allegedly made sure that their lives were terminated.

Body development of a fetus    

By 25 days from fertilization, the body of the embryo would have been developing. Its head and trunk appear and tiny arm buds would have begun to form, followed by leg buds. The early embryo seems to have a tail but this is really a protective covering for the spinal cord. Because the central nervous system (brain. spine and spinal cord) is so important since it governs the sensory and motor functions, the embryo's body is designed for rapid growth of its head and back. By 21 to 25 days, the fetus's heart is beating. Other internal organs are present in the body of the embryo along with early facial features.

By 30 days, just two weeks past its mother's first missed period, the embryo which would be one quarter of an inch long, had a brain of unmistakable human proportions, eyes, ears, mouth, kidneys, liver, an umbilical cord and a heart pumping its blood. 

There can be no doubt that at this stage of its growth, the embryo was a living entity and functioning as it continued to grow. The question the jury must decide is whether or not the embryo was also a human being. The issue probably won’t apply in this particular case I am writing about because Castro could not have been aware that the mother was pregnant if she kept it secret from him that she wasn‘t experiencing her period. If he wasn’t aware of her pregnancy, then he wouldn’t have tried to force her to miscarriage.   By the sixth week from fertilization, tiny fingers appeared, followed within days by its toes. By the seventh week the fetus would have had individual fingerprints. Even in utero, a fetus has unique characteristics.    

By six weeks, its eyes appeared in simple form in the first month of development and now had lens and retinas in each of its eyes.  Its eyelids also began to take shape. The ears continued to develop and by seven weeks, the outer ear was present, and the inner ear, with its hearing and balancing mechanisms, was well established.  

By 45 days, about the time of the mother's second missed period, the embryo’s skeleton was completed in cartilage, but not bone. The embryo would have made its first movements of its body and its new-grown limbs, although it would be another 12 weeks before its movements would have been strong enough to be transmitted through the insensitive uterus to be detected by its mother's sensitive abdominal wall.    

A fetus’s brain waves can be recorded by EEG (electro- encephalograph) in the human embryo 40 days after fertilization.                 

Human embryos after five weeks of its gestational ages have been seen to move away from object touching their mouth areas. The sensitive area extends to include the rest of the face in the sixth and seventh weeks and the palms of the hands and soles of the feet in the eighth and ninth weeks respectively.

A British study showed that the embryo’s movements begin at the same time as sensory nerves begin to grow into the spinal cord in the second month of pregnancy. The nerve fibers respond to touches to the skin and movement of the limbs. At this stage of development, the embryo’s sensory nerves appear to be more sensitive than those of an adult or newborn fetus.

Around eight weeks, the embryo’s cartilage skeleton began to turn into bone. The body of the embryo was essentially complete. Now the embryo could be referred to as the fetus.

By the end of the twelfth, week the fetus would have measured almost 90 millimeters in length (3.5 inches) and weighed 45g (1.58 ounces) The fetuses’ face which was at first, broad, now became narrower, The eyes were closed for protection from about 10 weeks until the sixth month. Whether the fetus was a boy or a girl would by then become obvious by an ultrasound examination.

Nine weeks after conception, the fetus would be well enough formed to be able to bend its fingers round an object in the palm of its hand. In response to a touch on the sole of his foot, it would curl its toes or bend its hips and knees to move away from the touching object. At 12 weeks, it could close its fingers and thumb and it could open its mouth in response to pressure applied at the base of its thumb.                                                                           

Brain cells which are essential for consciousness in children and adults are also known to be present in the fetus within 10 weeks of conception. Nerve fibers which transmit pain impulses are also known to be present before fibers inhibiting pain are completed. What this implies is that the first trimester fetus may be susceptible to pain. In other words, if the fetus can experience pain before the body's mechanisms to suppress pain have developed, this means that the fetus may be able to feel pain at a much earlier stage than was previously thought, and perhaps even more keenly in the first three months of pregnancy as it can in the following trimesters.

There is a likelihood that the fetus had started to acquire the capacity to perceive what is happening to it as early as six weeks, certainly by nine to ten weeks of gestation. Anatomical examination of such fetuses indicates the probability that differentiation sufficient for reception, transmission and perception of primitive pain sensation has already occurred in its brain. This also means that if the fetus was forcibly removed from the uterus at this stage of gestation, it will suffer pain as a result and beware of what is happening to it.

In my opinion, it would be extremely difficult to say that the fetus at this stage of gestation isn’t a human being. I will deal with that issue later in this article.

At 11 weeks after conception, the fetus would have begun to swallow the surrounding amniotic fluid and pass it back in its urine. Swallowing prepares the fetus for taking in milk at birth. Thumb-sucking has also been recorded in the fetus. By then it could also create complex facial expressions and even smile. Since a fetus has a functioning brain and can hear sounds at this stage of its development, the smile may be a reaction to what it hears what its mother is saying from the sound waves emanating within the mother’s body. For example, if the fetus hears the mother saying that it can hardly wait to see her fetus, the fetus inside her might very well smile.

The ears of the fetus function as early as the fourth month, and there is evidence that it hears a good deal. Since there is evidence that from four months the fetus responds to sound,  doctors testing unborn children for deafness, while monitoring their reactions to noise with ultrasound (a technique for visualizing the children in utero), have observed eye movements and blink-startle responses in fetuses of 16 to 32 weeks gestation.

The fetus hears sounds from the outside world as well as from the mother’s heart and digestive system: In fact the inner ear of the fetus is completely developed by mid-pregnancy, and the fetus responds to a wide variety of sounds. It is surrounded by constant very loud noises in the uterus which includes the rhythmical sound of the uterine blood supply punctuated by the noises of air passing through the mother's intestine. Loud noises from outside the uterus such as the slamming of a door or loud music reach the fetus and it reacts to them. Tests using different types of music indicate that the fetus even appears to have preferences. A four or five-month-old fetus definitely responds to sound and melody and responds in very discriminating ways.

When I served in the Canadian Navy in the early 1950s, I was given permission to practice hypnosis and on one occasion, I retrogressed a sailor back in time to a period of three months prior his birth and while in that state, he told me that he heard his mother say that she wanted her baby dead. This explained why he always hated his mother but didn’t know why. I placed him into a state of amnesia while he was still under hypnosis and when he woke up; his attitude towards his mother was one of love and not hatred. Years later, I learned that using this kind of psychiatric treatment became a common practice amongst psychiatrists who had the ability to hypnotize their patients and retrogress them back into periods of time prior to their births.

Fetal breathing movements have been detected as early as 11 weeks.  Although the fetus does not breathe air inside the fluid-filled amnion, these movements help develop the respiratory organs such as the lungs and the diaphragm that regulates the lungs.

By sixteen weeks, Castro’s victim’s fetus would have measured 140 mm (5.5 inches) from crown to rump, just over one third of the size it would be at full term, and weighed around 200 grams (7.05 ounces). The heart now pumped 30 litres (7.9 gallons) of blood a day. The uterus expanded and changed shape to accommodate the growing fetus. The woman’s pregnancy would begin to show externally. It might have been be around that time that Castro may have realized that his victim was pregnant but quite frankly, I doubt it.  A doctor could have determined approximately how advanced the pregnancy is by locating the fundus that is the top part of the uterus between the Fallopian tubes, which stretches upwards towards the mother's chest as the uterus expands.

From the sixteenth week the fetus responds to light. If a blinking light is shone on to the mother's abdomen, the fetal heartbeat fluctuates. In late pregnancy, some light penetrates through the uterine wall and amniotic fluid, and fetal activity has been shown to increase in response to bright light. The womb is a more stimulating environment than some people think since the fetus is alert and responsive as a result of the stimulation in the womb.

After 20 weeks, the fetus would be 190 millimeters (7.48 inches) from crown to rump and weigh 460 grams (16.2 ounces). Head hair, eyebrows, eyelashes and nails would be growing. To protect the fetus's skin from prolonged contact with the amniotic fluid, a greasy substance called vernix covers the body. Between this stage and birth the fetus will gain weight and will develop an insulating layer of fat beneath the skin. It will also receive maternal antibodies against some infections as a temporary protection until the infant's own immune system is better developed.

Fetal activity is affected when the mother is tired or under stress. The fetus is usually most notably active when the mother is lying down at night. The mother feels the fetus's kicking and may notice sharp movements when the fetus gets hiccups after drinking the amniotic fluid or practices its breathing movements. In later pregnancy the fetus has been observed to show behavioral states such as waking, calm sleeping, and rapid eye movement sleep which is associated with dreaming in children and adults.

The fetus at this stage of gestation still has some room to manoeuvre inside the womb and it will seek the position which it feels most comfortable. It is very easy to demonstrate now with ultrasound that the babies make the most of all the space and room available to them. We know that fetal comfort determines fetal position, that changes in maternal position provoke fetus to seek a new position of comfort.

If the fetus is born too early, there is still a good chance that he or she will survive, given special medical care. A document from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (the professional body of doctors who treat pregnant women) stated “In 1984, 72 per cent of live born infants of 22 to 27 weeks; gestation born at the Bristol Maternity Hospital survived, as did 64 per cent of infants of 500 to 999 grams (17.6 to 35.2 ounces) birth weight. With advances in technology and in understanding of human fetal development, premature babies' chances of survival are improving.

The jury dexiding Castro’s fate has to know that status of the fetus at the time of the actions he undertook to terminate the pregnancy of his victim. This is why I have submitted to you the various states of gestation of a human fetus. 

Now I will deal with the issue of whether or not Castro murdered the babies when they were in its mother’s womb.

If Ariel Castro is handed a death sentence for aggravated murder, he would become the first person in the US to be put on death row under the country's proliferating and controversial fetal homicide laws. The provisions extend legal rights to unborn babies, in some cases—including Ohio,  as early as conception.

To secure a guilty verdict for fetal homicide, prosecutors typically have to show that a killer clearly meant to murder the unborn baby by assaulting its mother in a way that would trigger an early end to the pregnancy. There is a provision of Ohio law that defines such an act it as aggravated murder when someone causes, with prior calculation and design, the unlawful termination of another person’s pregnancy.

Since Castro terminated his victim’s pregnancy by starving her and constantly hitting her in her belly for the purpose of terminating her babies (and his babies also), that is enough evidence to convince a jury that his crime was one of homicide and that is was done by him with aggravated premeditation and that being so, he is eligible for the death penalty.

If anyone is deserving of the death penalty, it is Ariel Castro. And if he is sentenced to death, (and that appears to be a given) he will get to choose which method of execution he wishes—electrocution or injection of fatal drugs. I appreciate the fact that some of my readers think that executing murderers is morally wrong. But to those I say this—consider the fact that this monster ended the lives of five human beings before they were born alive. He denied these five little victims the same opportunities that we all have to enjoy life to the fullest and anyone who does that should be put down like the wild mad dog that Castro is.
UPDATE:  On May 13th, he was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the death of the refugee who died from his botched abortion. He was also found guilty of three counts of first degree murder for the killing of the babies that had their spinal cords severed with scisors while they were still alive. The following day, he signed an agreement that he would not file any appeal and for this reason, he wouldn't be executed. Instead, he will spend the rest of his life in prison. He will be placed in protective custody and will spend every day of what's left of his life in his cell except for one hour where he will exercise or take a shower. He is 72 years of age. I hope he lives a long time. If he does, it will be a fitting punishment for such an evil creepy man.

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