Trial Avoided: Castro Accepts Plea Deal
CLEVELAND — Life without parole plus 1,000 years is the sentence recommendation for a man who held three women captive for 10 years.
For the first time since his arrest, Castro appeared in court wearing glasses Friday morning. He kept his head up during the hearing and answered Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Michael Russo’s questions.
He pleaded guilty to hundreds of charges Friday morning and told the judge he understood the charges. He said he had an addiction to pornography.
Castro said, “My addiction to pornography has really taken a toll on my mind.”
During today’s hearing, Castro revealed he graduated from Lincoln West High School when the judge asked about his education. He told Judge Russo he moved to Cleveland in 1972.
Castro, 53, admitted to kidnapping and raping three women repeatedly for a decade.
The three women, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight and Berry’s child, whom Castro fathered during her captivity, escaped in May.
The plea deal spares the victims from having to testify. Castro said in court that he knew the “book would be thrown” at him.
He also said several times he knew he would not be eligible for parole and would spend the rest of his life locked up.
Prosecutors also filed a motion to amend the indictment, saying they would not seize certain property belonging to Castro, including four motorcycles, three vehicles and a pension, possibly so those items could be given to his family.
That motion was granted.
Castro’s house and about $22,000 will be forfeited. Photo albums, clothing and certain approved belongings will be given to his family.
Defense attorney says Castro did not want the women to have to testify and that the plea brought a sense of relief to his client.
When asked if he had any questions, Castro said, “No, but I would like to state that I was also a victim as a child, and it just kept going.” Judge Russo said he may bring that up during sentencing.
Sentencing for Ariel Castro is set for Aug. 1.