Ariel Castro Sentenced to Life Plus 1000 Years in Plea Deal: Claims ‘I’m Addicted to Pornography’

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from – The Cleveland man accused of holding three women captive in his home for a decade entered a guilty plea on Friday in order to avoid the death penalty.

The man, Ariel Castro, 53, pleaded guilty to 937 counts, including rape and kidnapping, in a plea agreement with prosecutors. Under the deal, he would spend life in prison without parole and receive 1,000 additional years.

“I will plead guilty because of the plea deal,” Mr. Castro said in court.

In a hearing on Friday, Judge Michael J. Russo of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court reviewed the charges and asked Mr. Castro whether he understood that he would not leave prison before he died. Mr. Castro said that he understood.

The hearing, which lasted more than an hour, was the first time the public had heard from Mr. Castro at length since he was arrested in May. Mr. Castro, who wore an orange jumpsuit and glasses and had a thick beard, often went beyond the judge’s questions, bringing up his “sexual problems” and saying that he missed his daughter.

Mr. Castro has a 6-year-old daughter with Amanda Berry, one of the kidnapping victims. This month, he asked the judge for permission to see the girl, but the judge denied his request.

During the hearing, Mr. Castro said that when he was arrested, he agreed to work with the authorities and “tell them everything.” He also told the judge that he had been sexually abused as a child.

At one point, he said, “My addiction to pornography and my sexual problem has really taken a toll on my mind.”

The judge is expected to accept the plea deal at a sentencing hearing on Thursday.

As part of the agreement, Mr. Castro would forfeit his home and his savings. Prosecutors said Mr. Castro’s home would be demolished soon.

The case captured national attention in May when the women were rescued, along with Ms. Berry’s daughter, after neighbors heard cries for help from the home. The women — Ms. Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight — vanished between 2002 and 2004 and were held captive in Mr. Castro’s home.

Ian Friedman, a law professor in Cleveland and former president of the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said that the community was relieved on Friday to learn of the plea deal. It is likely that prosecutors agreed to it to bring a quick resolution to the case without extending it for years with appeals. If the case had gone to trial, the victims would have had to relive their traumatic experiences, he said.

“Right now, everyone knows that he will die in prison,” Mr. Friedman said, “and hopefully the victims will now be able to heal.”

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