Cleveland Kidnapper Agrees To Plea Deal, Sentenced To Life Plus 1,000 Years
The bizarre saga of Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro, who held three women in his home on Cleveland’s West Side for more than a decade came to an end today with a guilty plea that guarantees he will never see freedom again:
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Ariel Castro pleaded guilty this morning to charges that he abducted and raped three Cleveland women who this April escaped from his home after more than a decade.
Castro agreed to a plea deal that will put him in prison for a life sentence without parole, plus a minimum of 1,000 years. He pleaded guilty to 937 counts of a 977-count indictment as part of the deal. He also pleaded guilty to terminating the pregnancy of one of his victims.
Judge Michael Russo asked Castro if he understood that he would not be getting out of prison.
“I do understand that … I pretty much knew I was going to get the book thrown at me,” Castro told Russo.
Castro said he understood he was giving up his rights, but said there were some things he did not “comprehend because of my sexual problems through the years.”
Later, Castro said, “My addiction to pornography and my sexual problem has really taken a toll on my mind.”
Judge Russo cut Castro off, saying he could speak about his problems during his sentencing hearing.
Castro unnerved a city and a nation when police discovered in early May that he had kidnapped Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight and raped them repeatedly while holding them captive in his home for a decade.
The women escaped Castro’s Seymour Avenue home on the West Side of Cleveland on May 6 with help from neighbors, prompting sentiments of joy at their release along with disbelief that they could have been held so long without being detected.
Castro faced the potential of the death penalty due to the fact that his beatings caused at least one of his captives to miscarry on at least one occasion. However, that charge would have been the first time that a death-penalty eligible fetal death would have been tried in Ohio had the matter gone to trial and the Constitutionality of the law is by no means certain. So, in addition to the defense getting the death penalty off the table, the prosecution avoids the risk of a problematic case while managing to ensure that Castro never sees freedom again.