See an earlier report above from when the jury reached its verdict in the Charles Castle case.

KENTON, Ohio (WCMH) — A Hardin County man sentenced to prison for raping a 7-year-old is appealing his case.

Charles Eugene Castle, 57, filed an appeal with the Hardin County Court of Common Pleas Wednesday in hopes that a higher court will reconsider a judge’s decision in late July to sentence him to prison until he is 102 years old, according to court records.

The six-day trial ended with a jury finding Castle guilty of 16 criminal counts — including rape, kidnapping and attempted murder — after he took a 7-year-old girl from her home overnight on Nov. 11, 2021 and raped her in his nearby camper.

Days after he was convicted, a Hardin County judge handed Castle a mandatory prison sentence of a minimum of 35 years and a maximum life sentence of 40.5 years, plus another 10 years to life. At that point, Castle will be at least 102 years old, according to court records.

The judge also required Castle to be categorized as a Tier III sex offender, court records state.

After a 911 call triggered a two-day search for the 7-year-old, the girl was found alone, locked in the basement of an abandoned farmhouse on County Road 180 that prosecutors linked to Castle. Throughout the trial, Hardin County prosecutor Brad Bailey argued Castle, then a friend of the victim’s father, took her from her home in the middle of the night, raped her, and tried to conceal her location from her parents.

“His purpose wasn’t to reunite her with her family, which he’s known for years,” Bailey said. “His purpose was to make sure she didn’t remain alive.”

Castle’s defense attorney Elizabeth Smith, however, contended during the trial that police arrested the wrong man, finding an “easy target” and “easy suspect” in Castle within hours of the 7-year-old going missing.

Castle was found guilty on all 16 counts:

  • Seven counts of kidnapping
  • One count of rape
  • One count of attempted murder
  • One count of assault
  • One count of endangering children
  • One count of burglary
  • Three counts of tampering with evidence
  • One count of breaking and entering