KENTON, Ohio (WCMH) — The man convicted of raping a seven-year-old Hardin County girl last November will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.
Charles Castle, 57, received a mandatory prison sentence of a minimum of 35 years and a maximum life sentence of 40.5 years, plus another mandatory 10 years to life. At that point, Castle will be at least 102 years old, according to court documents NBC4 obtained Friday.
Castle will receive a 256-day local jail credit, plus credit for days spent waiting for transportation to a state prison. And, if he ever got out of prison, he would be subject to five years of mandatory post-release control.
Charles Eugene Castle was found guilty on several counts including kidnapping, rape, attempted murder, and other charges on July 19. A jury convicted Castle of kidnapping the child from her home overnight on Nov. 11, 2021, and raping her in his nearby camper, according to earlier reporting by NBC4. The six-day trial in Hardin County Common Pleas Court included testimony from a child abuse pediatrician, a social worker, several forensic scientists, and the 7-year-old victim herself.
“She’s [the victim] got some issues that’s going to take time, patience,” Hardin County prosecutor Brad Bailey said after the verdict. “The parents know they have a long way to go to bring her back to normal. Our department was emotionally involved in this case very seriously from the beginning and the girl’s a cute little girl, so that’s what makes me emotional.”
The state brought five days of testimony. The jury did come back to the courtroom to view video evidence that was shown earlier in the trial. The 12 members rewatched the video including body camera video from the morning the child went missing and surveillance video from outside the family’s home the night the kidnapping happened.
“The point is the girl is steadfast and when her interview she looked him right in the eye and she pointed at him right down there,” Bradford said in NBC4’s contemporaneous report. “That is not based on some fleeting moment, some guy comes to her house one time. That’s on the guy that’s been for over 60 days consistently over six and a half, seven years of her lifetime. She knows who Charles Castle is.”
During the trial, jurors were shown photos of the child in the hospital, with red marks around her neck. Harding County prosecutor Brad Bailey said those marks were from an electrical cord wrapped so tight that the girl passed out.
The parents testified that their daughter may never fully recover from the ordeal, NBC4 reported.
“She’s not allowed to play,” the girl’s mother testified. “She’s limited physically at what she can do. She acts like her right arm doesn’t even exist. She doesn’t use both of her hands. The poor girl gets frustrated so much, she ends up breaking down and crying.”
Bailey argued Castle, then a friend of the little girl’s father, took her from her home in the middle of the night, raped her, then tried to hide her when her parents came looking for her.