Radio Sandwell News

Ariel Castro to serve life in prison under plea deal

2013-07-26 18:15:37

Ariel Castro
Ariel Castro said he understood he would never leave

The Ohio man accused of raping and holding three women captive in his home for about a decade has agreed to a plea deal that will see him imprisoned for life without the possibility of parole.

Ariel Castro, 53, was arrested in May after one of the women escaped.

He abducted Michelle Knight, 32, Amanda Berry, 27, and Gina DeJesus, 23, from Cleveland streets between 2002-04.

Castro was charged with murder for beating and starving one of the women, who was pregnant, until she miscarried.

In a courtroom in Cleveland, Judge Michael Russo repeatedly warned Castro he would never be let out of prison.

"Is that clear?" he asked Castro, who sat wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, his hands cuffed in front of him.

"I do understand that, your honour," Castro, an unemployed school bus driver, replied. "I knew I was pretty much going to get the book thrown at me."

House demolition

Under the terms of the plea deal Castro will receive an additional prison sentence of 1,000 years and his property and other assets will be forfeited. He will also be classified as a sex offender.

Ariel Castro's victims
The three women were all taken from the same street
between 2002-04

The agreement protects him from further charges and from the death penalty.

The judge said there were plans to demolish the house where the women were held.

At the hearing, Castro told the judge he was abused as a child and said, "My addiction to pornography and my sexual problem has really taken a toll on my mind."

Castro was charged with 977 counts including two counts of aggravated murder for the "unlawful termination" of one of the women's pregnancies, as well as multiple counts of kidnap and rape.

Other counts included gross sexual imposition, felonious assault and endangering children.

The three women were abducted after accepting car rides from Castro, police said. Neighbours said they did not think anyone had been living in the house where the women were imprisoned.

They were rescued from the house where they were kept by Castro after Ms Berry kicked open a door and was rescued by a neighbour who summoned the police.

When officials arrived they freed Ms Knight and Ms DeJesus, as well as Ms Berry's six-year-old daughter, fathered by Mr Castro.


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