Cleveland kidnapper sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years

Keith Wagstaff
The WeekAugust 1, 2013
During the sentencing, Ariel Castro said he "was driven by sex."

Ariel Castro, who held three women captive for a decade, says he's "not a monster," just sick

A judge sentenced Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro to life in prison without parole plus 1,000 years on Thursday.

"These people are trying to paint me as a monster," Castro said at the sentencing hearing. "I'm not a monster. I'm sick."

Last week, Castro, 53, pleaded guilty to 937 charges connected to the kidnapping and imprisonment of Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus. The three women were discovered in May after a neighbor heard screaming coming from Castro's Cleveland home and helped Berry escape.

Castro admitted to kidnapping each of the women separately and keeping them trapped in his house for a decade.

After his arrest, grim details emerged from the victims, including claims that he kept them chained to a pole in the basement, raped them, forced Berry to give birth to a baby in a plastic pool, and beat Knight five separate times to force a miscarriage after she got pregnant. By striking a plea deal with the prosecution, he avoided the death penalty in connection to the miscarriage.

In an emotional day in court, Knight told Castro in a statement, "I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning. I will overcome all this has happened, but you will face hell for eternity."

Despite already pleading guilty, Castro defended himself in front of the judge, saying, "God as my witness, I never beat these women like they're trying to say that I did."

He added that he suffered from a porn addiction and that he committed the crimes because he "was driven by sex."

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