– One of the three women held captive and brutalised by Ariel Castro in his Cleveland home declared to a spellbound courtroom that she would overcome all that has happened to her.
“I spent 11 years in hell,” Michelle Knight told Castro at a hearing where he was sentenced to life without parole plus 1000 years in prison. “Now, your hell is just beginning.”
Cadres described himself as a sick person struggling with a sexual addiction, but insisted he was not abusive by nature.
“I know what I did was wrong, but I am not a violent person,” said the former school bus driver and musician, who pleaded guilty to 937 felony counts including rape, assault and kidnapping.
Of his three captives, who were repeatedly bound, beaten and raped over the course of a decade and were repeatedly deprived of food as well as their freedom, Castro said: “I simply kept them there without them being able to leave.”
Castro lured each of his victims to his home by offering them rides and then lying to them about what was inside his residence, a police detective testified at the sentencing hearing. He offered Ms Knight a puppy, told Amanda Berry that she could visit his daughter, whom Berry knew, and asked Gina DeJesus for help moving a stereo speaker.
Each of the women told police that they trusted Castro, in part because they knew at least one of his teenage or young adult children.
Within minutes of getting each girl inside the house, Detective Andrew Harasimchuk said, Castro tied them up and raped them. It was an immediate and horrific beginning to a decade of physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
During her captivity, Ms Berry became pregnant by Castro and gave birth to a child, now six years old. Ms Knight has told authorities that Castro impregnated her multiple times as well, and then starved, beat and mistreated her until she miscarried.
“You took 11 years of my life away, and I have got it back,” said Ms Knight, the only one of the three victims to testify in court. “I will live on; you will die a little every day.”
As part of his plea deal, Castro, 53, received a sentence of life with no chance of parole for aggravated murder on a charge of forced miscarriage. He also received 1000 years for kidnap, rape, assault and other charges.
He was ordered to have no contact with his victims, including his six-year-old daughter.
Both Ms Berry and Ms DeJesus were represented in court by relatives, who made statements on their behalf.
Sylvia Colon, a cousin of Ms DeJesus, said her family was eager to close this horrific chapter of their lives. “Our beloved family member thrives,” Ms Colon said. “She laughs, she swims, she dances…she will finish school, go to college, fall in love and get married.”
Ms Colon then turned towards Castro, who wore a prison jumpsuit and was seated at the defence table, and addressed him in Spanish. According to translations posted on Twitter, she said: “God have mercy on your soul.”
Beth Serrano, Ms Berry’s sister, said she “is strong and beautiful inside and out, and she is do jog better every day”.
Ms Serrano spoke tearfully about her family’s desire not to revisit the captivity in public and to keep details of the ordeal private, so that Ms Berry could explain it to her young daughter in her own way, when it was right. “Amanda did not control anything for a long time. Can we just let her have control over this, so she can protect her daughter?” Ms Serrano said. “She will do anything to protect her daughter.” – Debbi Wilgoren



About Jumpin' Jack Cash
This entry was posted in Abduction and Kidnapping, Assault, Homicide, Rape and Sexual Assault, Serious Assault & Recklessly Causing Serious Injury and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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