Ariel Castro sentenced to life in prison without parole, plus 1,000 years
Sentences will be served consecutively
12:45 PM, Aug 1, 2013
4:08 PM, Aug 1, 2013
CLEVELAND (AP) - The Ohio man convicted of holding three women captive in his Cleveland house over a decade and raping them repeatedly was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole, plus 1,000 years.
Fifty-three-year-old Ariel Castro was given his sentence Thursday. He had pleaded guilty to 937 counts including aggravated murder, kidnapping, rape and assault.
Castro apologized and told the court he isn't a monster. He said he's sick and addicted to pornography, but he claimed that most of the sex with the women was consensual.
He got the life term for the most serious count and was getting additional time for the hundreds of other counts.
A plea deal struck last week spared him from a possible death sentence for beating and starving a pregnant victim until she miscarried.
The women disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004 when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old.
They escaped May 6 when one of them, Amanda Berry, broke out part of the door to Castro's house and yelled to neighbors for help.
Castro said Thursday he knows what he did was wrong, but that he's not a violent person and that his captives asked for sex and weren't tortured.
The women described horrific conditions in the home, which Castro turned into a jury-rigged prison.
One of three women kidnapped told Castro on Thursday that her life is just beginning, while his is over.
"You took 11 years of my life away, and I have got it back," Michelle Knight told Castro. "I spent 11 years in hell. Now you're hell is just beginning. I will overcome all this has happened, but you will face hell for eternity."
Knight, 32, did not face Castro as she spoke, but he glance toward her several times after she entered the courtroom. She was the first woman abducted Castro in 2002 after he lured her into his house with the promise of a puppy for her son.
FBI agent Andrew Burke said Castro turned his house into a prison by creating a makeshift alarm system and chaining them inside bolted bedrooms.
Bedroom windows were boarded shut from the inside with heavy closet doors and doorknobs had been removed and replaced with multiple locks, Burke said. The house was divided in ways to make it more secure and to hide the existence of rooms, he said.