CLEVELAND — A man charged with holding three women captive in his Cleveland home for over a decade will undergo an evaluation to determine if he is mentally competent to stand trial, a judge ordered Wednesday.
Although both the defense and prosecution agree Ariel Castro is competent, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Michael Russo said he wants to make sure the 52-year-old man is able to understand the charges and assist attorneys in his defense.
Castro has pleaded not guilty to 329 counts in an indictment that covers August 2002, when the first woman disappeared, to February 2007. More charges could be filed in the case cracked May 6 when one woman escaped from Castro’s house, leading to the rescue of the other two.
Prosecutor Tim McGinty told the judge he would be going back to the grand jury soon to seek the additional charges. Attorney General Mike DeWine said this month that a state crime laboratory is checking new evidence to determine if there were additional victims.
McGinty said he believes Castro understood what he was doing when the crimes were committed and he is competent now.
‘‘We have absolutely no doubt . . . that he’s entirely competent, knows exactly what he’s doing now and did then,’’ McGinty said in court Wednesday.
Castro’s attorney, Craig Weintraub, told reporters afterward that he believes his client is competent for trial.
A brief statement issued Wednesday by attorneys on behalf of the women suggested they want a quick resolution of the case.
‘‘The longer this process lasts, the more painful it is for them. And the more sordid details of this horror that get disclosed in this process, the more painful it is for them,’’ said Kathy Joseph, attorney for Michelle Knight.