**Warning: some of Ariel Castro’s testimony is graphic**
CLEVELAND–“I’m not a monster; I’m sick.”
Those words from Ariel Castro in response to his crimes: kidnapping Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, then repeatedly raping and abusing them for years, while holding them hostage inside his Seymour Avenue home in Cleveland.
Before Judge Michael Russo handed down the sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 1,000 years, Castro, 53, spoke for more than 15 minutes.
Castro blamed his actions on an addiction to porn. He said, “My sexual problem has been so bad. I’m impulsive.”
Castro went on to say he was never abusive until he met his wife.
Castro said after he separated from his wife he was single for about five years, during which time he touched himself and looked at porn.
He went on to say that the day he picked up his first victim (Michelle Knight), it wasn’t planned.“They’re trying to say I’m a violent person. I’m not a violent person. I drove a school bus. I was a musician. I have a family,” Castro said.
Castro said he believes his daughter with Amanda Berry would say he is “the best dad in the world.”
He said he gave the child a normal life for those six years she lived in his home.
“I am not a monster. I did not prey on these women. I just acted on sexual instincts because of my sexual addiction. As God as my witness, I never beat these women like they say I did. I never tortured them,” Castro said.
He said God will ultimately judge him.
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