Castro, the man who kidnapped three women and held them captive for up to ten years in his house in Cleveland, Ohio, addressed the court in which he will be sentenced today, admitting that he is a sick man, but denying that he is a monster.
Michelle Knight, one of the three victims kidnapped and abused by Ariel Castro for more than a decade, chided the former school bus driver at his sentencing hearing Thursday, saying, “your hell is just beginning.”
Knight, who was impregnated by Castro, then starved and beaten so she miscarried five times, tearfully told Castro “you took 11 years of my life away.”
“I will live on. You will die a little bit every day,” said Knight, now 32. She told Castro he was a hypocrite for going to church on Sundays, then returning home “to torture” her, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus.
Castro issued a brief apology at the onset of the hearing and later repeated it after a rambling statement in which he claimed “I’m not a monster.” He blamed his problems on sexual abuse he was subjected to as a child. The self-described pornography addict said he wasn’t “trying to make excuses” for his criminal acts” but deferred blame for his actions on the victims and the FBI.
Castro, 53, pleaded guilty to 937 charges last week, including aggravated murder, rape and kidnapping, to avoid the death penalty. Under terms of the plea deal, he’ll get life imprisonment, plus 1,000 years, with no chance for parole.
Castro kidnapped Berry, DeJesus and Knight between 2002 and 2004, fathering a Christmas Day child with Berry. The girl is now 6.
A series of law enforcement officials and psychiatrists painted a far grisly portrait, detailing years of sexual, emotional and physical torture Castro forced upon his victims, including binding them with chains, repeated beatings and putting a gun to their heads.
Each of the women was lured to the house, either with a promise of a ride, a visit with Castro’s daughter or, in Knight’s case, a puppy for her son.
Once in the house, Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty said in a sentencing memorandum, Castro kept them chained and locked in the upstairs rooms or subjected them to “the cold of the basement and the heat of the attic as punishment techniques.”
The document states that “the victims of the defendant’s heinous crimes did everything humanly possible to retain a sense of normalcy. They were able to mark the passage of time through the maintenance of diaries. Several diary entries document abuse and life as a captive.”
At the time of his plea, Castro told Judge Michael Russo that he was addicted to pornography, had long-running sexual problems and had been sexually abused as a child. But until Thursday, Castro offered no remorse for the kidnappings and no apologies.
Castro, a former school bus driver, claimed he did not know how to end the double life he had created for himself and so finally provided the women with a chance to escape by leaving a door unlocked, a court document read.
The whereabouts of the three women were not discovered until Amanda Berry broke out of the house in May and called for help, frantically telling an emergency dispatcher: “I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been missing for 10 years, and I’m, I’m here. I’m free now.”
Verdict just in from CNN, he gets 1000 years
More from the sites below