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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.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Pinky says:

    One advantage to having a legal death penalty is that cases like this can be made to bypass the trial.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  2. wr says:

    @Pinky: “One advantage to having a legal death penalty is that cases like this can be made to bypass the trial. ”

    Sure. What difference does it make if innocent people are put to death? This is our convenience we’re talking about, darn it!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  3. Tony W says:

    1000 years? The republic is less than 1/4 that old…why not 1 million years? Sometimes I wonder where the logic comes from on this stuff.

    With juries, it makes sense – “yeah $2 million sounds about right for that wet floor slip at K-Mart, but let’s not tell the judge until after they bring us lunch”, but in this case I’m having a hard time getting behind a sentence of 20-30 times his expected remaining lifetime.

    Is our parole system so bad that we have to pile on like this to avoid any chance of this monster walking the streets? If so, I have an idea…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. PJ says:

    @Tony W:

    1000 years? The republic is less than 1/4 that old…why not 1 million years? Sometimes I wonder where the logic comes from on this stuff.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l91ISfcuzDw

    Maybe there’s a ranking somewhere? The 100 longest sentences?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Pinky says:

    @wr: You quoted my one-sentence comment, so I assume you read it. I didn’t say that it was a decisive argument for the death penalty. I didn’t say that innocent people were never put to death. I said what I said. Do you agree with it or not?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  6. Mike says:

    He had better hope he doesn’t get put in general population. If he does, he won’t last a month.

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  7. Dazedandconfused says:

    Lawyer screwed him. Should have been able to bargain that down to 7 or 800. Tops.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. matt says:

    @Pinky: Faced the “potential of the death penalty” not “faced the death penalty’. So there’s no reason to believe the death penalty had any effect on this. The overwhelming evidence and other factors surely had a stronger influence..

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