A man who lived on the same block as the late Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro pleaded not guilty Monday to the murders of two women — cases that went cold until Castro was arrested and investigators took another look at the neighborhood.

A judge set bail at $5 million for the man, Elias Acevedo Sr. He said in a brief hearing in county court that he could not afford a lawyer.

The cases appear unrelated. Acevedo lived doors down from the Castro house on Seymour Avenue in Cleveland, where three women escaped earlier this year after a decade in captivity.

Acevedo, 49, was arrested in June after police discovered that he was a convicted sex offender and had failed to report his current address.

He is accused of the kidnapping, rape and murder of a 30-year-old neighbor, Pamela Pemberton, who was found strangled in 1994, and of a woman believed to be Christina Adkins, who disappeared, pregnant, as an 18-year-old in 1995.

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