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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/26/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Ringleader Ariel Castro takes life - plus 1,000 years in prison

The ringleader behind a house of horrors in Cleveland, where three women were imprisoned against their will for several years has taken a plea deal which thankfully will not see him outside of a jail cell for the rest of his life. Ariel Castro took a plea deal to serve life without parole - in addition to 1,000 years.

Ariel Castro originally pleaded not guilty July 17 at a hearing in which the judge ordered him to keep his eyes open. Prosecutors said they were considering the death penalty but never announced a decision.

Ariel Castro originally pleaded not guilty July 17 at a hearing in which the judge ordered him to keep his eyes open. Prosecutors said they were considering the death penalty but never announced a decision.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/26/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Ariel Castro, plea deal, Cleveland, house of horrors, imprisonment, torture


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Cleveland officials heaved a collective sigh of relief, as the plea will spare the city a long and costly trial, in which he victims would be forced to take the witness stand. Prior to the deal, the trail was set to begin in two weeks.

"I knew I was going to get pretty much the book thrown at me," Castro told Judge Michael J. Russo of Cuyahoga County court in Ohio. He also added that "I don't think there's any reason," when asked if he knew he was forfeiting any hope of getting out of prison before he dies.

The 53-year-old Castro was accused of abducting the women from the Cleveland streets between 2002 and 2004, imprisoning them in his home for as much as 10 years at a time. Investigators say Castro raped and impregnated the women, at times chaining them in the basement. Castro fathered a daughter, now six-years old, with victim Amanda Berry.

Castro must also forfeit the modest home that prosecutors said he turned into a torture chamber and prison. The county plans to demolish the structure. Castro will be formally sentenced later at a hearing in which the three women will have the chance to address him.

The three - Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight escaped in May after Berry broke through a door and screamed for help while Castro was not at home. Lawyers for the women say they simply want the matter behind them.

Castro had originally faced 977 criminal counts, including attempted murder, a charge brought by Ohio prosecutors after one of the women told investigators that Castro forced her to miscarry by punching her in the stomach.

Castro originally pleaded not guilty July 17 at a hearing in which the judge ordered him to keep his eyes open. Prosecutors said they were considering the death penalty but never announced a decision.

Knight breaking her silence in a video had said: "I may have been through hell and back, but I am strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my face, and my head held high, and my feet firmly on the ground."

Held on $8 million bail, appeared in an orange prison suit for the hearing. He also wore glasses in court for the first time, and told the judge they helped.

The judge and Castro engaged in a lengthy question-and-answer designed to make sure Castro understood the plea agreement. When Russo asked him about a criminal count that classified him as a sexually violent predator, he answered: "The violent part I don't agree with, but yes."

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