Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro pleads guilty, will avoid the death penalty

Matthew Coutts
Daily Brew
Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro pleads guilty, will avoid the death penalty

They suffered for a decade, and he’ll pay for it for the rest of his life.

Former school bus driver Ariel Castro pleaded guilty on Friday to kidnapping and raping three Cleveland women, in a missing persons case that galvanized a community and shocked North America.

Castro agreed to a deal that will keep him in prison for the rest of his life but would avoid the death penalty. In exchange, he will be sentenced to 1,000 years in prison with no chance of parole.

"I knew I was pretty much going to get the book thrown at me," Castro told an Ohio judge, according to Reuters.

Castro had been held in custody since early May, when three women who had disappeared from their Cleveland homes about 10 years ago were rescued from his home alongside a six-year-old girl.

[ More Brew: Message from Cleveland kidnapping victims sign of recovery ]

The three women – Gina DeJesus, 23, Michelle Knight, 32, and Amanda Berry, 27 – had disappeared in separate instances between 2002 and 2004 and were held captive in the shanty home, unknown to even Castro's closest neighbours.

DNA evidence confirmed the girl, Berry's daughter, was fathered by Castro while Berry was his captor.

The women were finally freed on May 6 when Berry managed to escape the home with the help of a neighbour and called police. Emergency crews rushed to the scene and found the other captors, terrified and suffering.

Earlier this month, the three women released a video statement thanking the public for their support and expressing their conviction to return to regular lives.

After 10 years of being held captive in a home, raped and beating at the whim of their captor, however, their journey to normalcy will be a long one.

The three women lost years of their lives and will spend the rest of their time on earth trying to forget what happened to them.

Castro will spend the next 1,000 years in a prison with no chance of parole. One only hopes he lives long enough to suffer through every one of those years.

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