CLEVELAND GIRLS CAPTOR RECEIVES LIFE SENTENCE – The sentencing for Ariel Castro has been handed down. You may remember Castro from events earlier this year when it was discovered that he had been holding three women captive in his home for more than a decade. The “Cleveland Girls,” Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina Dejesus, who were in their teens when they were abducted by Castro from their Cleveland neighborhood; finally escaped this past May.
During the trial, information detailing some of the trauma these girls faced was brought forward: beatings, starvation, isolation from one another and repeatedly being raped barely describes the atrocities these three suffered. Pregnancies were inevitable and a child was born to Castro by Amanda Berry-and delivered in the home. Michelle Knight was also pregnant five times by Castro, but miscarried each as a result of being beaten severely multiple times.
Castro pled guilty to 937 charges including kidnapping, aggravated murder and rape. As part of the deal granted to him for admitting a “pleasant plea,” the death penalty was removed and it was stipulated that he would be sentenced to a minimum of life in prison without parole, plus 1,000 years.
“Just kill him. Why should he be allowed to have 3 hots and a cot at taxpayers expense….not to mention free healthcare etc.”
After sentencing, Castro gave a brief statement in which he attributed his behavior as the result of being an abuse victim himself. He clearly acknowledged knowing that what he did was wrong, saying he felt helpless to stop. He paused slightly before adding that he is not a monster, he is just sick. He then went on to blame pornography for his actions, adding that he abducted the young girls to satisfy his sexual needs.
“He states that he is not a monster, just sick. Well there’s a lead pill cure for that.”
To avoid public looting for souvenirs or becoming a tourist destination for the curiously sick and twisted the state of Ohio has already decided to tear down the home. When he was notified that he needed to sign over the deed, Castro’s response was to tear up, saying “I don’t understand why you have to tear my house down. I have so many happy memories there with Gina, Amanda and Michelle.” Quite a contrast to the ‘memorabilia’ found in the home that included chains, boarded up windows and multiple locks on doors. It was even equipped with an indoor alarm system.
“That is not a sentence he needed to be put to death. Why the state gave in to a plea I would consider malpractice on the prosecution team.”
Evident by the comments in italics, you can see that although Castro will never leave prison, the public is not satisfied. They were looking for the death penalty to be his punishment. It is important to understand that when he opted to plead guilty, he bypassed the death penalty. If the prosecution would have needed to prove his guilt, more of the facts, evidence and testimonies surrounding this horrific crime would have been brought to light and made public knowledge. His admission of guilt spared these three young women the anguish of being raped again by the justice system.
Castro has already proven and admitted that he is a sick, perverted individual and having more proof would not change that fact. What his guilty plea did was relieve these three young women of facing those horrors again, when they have already made progress in their healing. There is no reason to ask them to endure revealing publicly what their lives were like; they know and I am sure still have dreams that are far too real of that time.
Don’t these young women deserve better than that? Haven’t they been through enough?
Left: Amanda Berry | Centre: Gina Dejesus | Right: Michelle Knight
There was no possibility of the defense team winning a ‘Not Guilty’ plea on all the charges, and the case could have dragged on for years. as each count was contested and proven. The guilty plea streamlined the entire court case protecting the privacy of these young women, while preventing a media circus, and saving taxpayers thousands of dollars. In the end, it was a good call.
With the death penalty off the table, the Judge Michael Russo guaranteed that Castro will never, ever get out of prison until he is carried out in a body bag. Yes, as taxpayers we will be footing the bill for his incarceration, and yet we will always know where he is.
He cannot appeal, cannot get out for good behavior or ever be up for parole.
He cannot hurt anyone else, torment these young women or get to know and be an influence in the life of his daughter.
Was the sentence just-does the punishment fit the crime? Absolutely not, but within the legal system it is the best punishment available and there is some comfort in knowing that his life will now, be forever changed. As Michelle Knight gave her victim input statement in court today she told Castro “ ”I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning.”