Ariel Castro, the man who kidnapped and tortured 3 women for 11 years in his Cleveland home, was sentenced to life in prison (plus 1,000 years) without parole. For several hours the judge, counsel, witnesses, and survivors listened to horrifying details of how he captured the women, physically and sexually assaulted them, and kept them in deplorable conditions.
Castro avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty to 977 counts including kidnapping and murder last week. Today, he told the courtroom. “I’m not a monster, I’m sick,” and seemed surprised when he learned he could have no future contact with the 6-year-old daughter he fathered with Berry.
When Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were rescued by neighbor Charles Ramsey in May, it put a spotlight on the ongoing crisis of violence against women in the U.S. During the sentencing, Knight read a statement, saying to Castro, “I will live on, and you will die a little every day,” and, “writing this statement gave me the strength to be a stronger woman.”