News Column

Ariel Castro Told 'Your Hell Is Just Beginning'

August 1, 2013

Kidnap victim Michelle Knight told kidnapper Ariel Castro in a Cleveland courtroom Thursday, "I will live on. You will die a little every day."

Knight spoke during Castro's sentencing hearing. Relatives of fellow victims Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus also spoke, but the other two victims did not appear in person.

"You took 11 years of my life away," Knight told Castro, "and now I have got it back. Now your hell is just beginning ... I can forgive you but I will never forget."

She said of her ordeal, "Years turned into eternity. I knew no one cared about me. He told me."

Castro starved Knight and jumped on her stomach to end a pregnancy.

"Gina [DeJesus] ... nursed me back to health when I was dying from his abuse," Knight said. "We said one day we would make it out alive. And we did."

The Cleveland police officer who interrogated Castro said during the hearing Castro told him he kidnapped three young women "purely to satisfy his sexual needs."

Cuyahoga Sheriff's Deputy Dave Jacob, who conducted the main questioning of Castro after his victims were freed, testified at Castro's sentencing hearing. Jacob is a member of the FBI task force in Cleveland, and in addition to being a sheriff's investigator holds commissions from the U.S. Marshal's Service and the FBI.

Jacob said he used a "non-confrontational" approach when talking to the suspect. The officer said Castro was direct in his answers.

"I felt that Ariel Castro -- that when incriminating questions were asked of him, he answered those questions," Jacob said.

Castro also wrote a three-page description of his acts May 8, Jacobs said.

"In his own words he used the word 'abduct' and characterized himself as a 'sexual predator,'" Jacob said.

The doctor who saw three women after they were freed from captivity testified they showed evidence of having been "raped repeatedly."

Dr. Gerald Maldny, an emergency room physician, testified at a sentencing hearing for kidnapper Ariel Castro.

Maldny said the three "related information regarding sexual assaults. All three were raped vaginally ... multiple, repeated times."

The doctor said one of the victims was covered in bruises.

"All three of them looked very gaunt. All three of them said they were allowed very little time outside," he added.

Joshua Barr, a forensics investigator for the state, testified he examined a pistol and nearly 100 feet of chain taken from Castro's home. Barr said the chain weighed more than 92 pounds.

The victims have said they were in fear of their lives if they tried to escape, and had been bound with chains.

FBI special agent Andrew Burke, who examined the house, said he saw several points where the chains apparently had been secured, and the house was fortified not only to keep people out, but to keep people in.

Castro pleaded guilty last week to holding three women captive in his Cleveland home for a decade.

"I would like to apologize to the victims," Castro, 53, said.

Security at Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court was tightened for the hearing, officials said.

When he entered a guilty plea to 937 counts of a 977-count indictment last week, Castro told Judge Michael J. Russo about his "addiction to pornography" and his "sexual problem" before Russo cut him off.

Castro's guilty plea included two charges of aggravated murder for terminating the pregnancy of one of his captives. The plea deal, giving him life in prison without parole plus 1,000 years, spares him from the death penalty.

Russo was expected to accept the deal, The New York Times said.

Court documents filed Wednesday describe the women's terrible conditions during their captivity.

The document, provided by WEWS-TV, Cleveland, can be found at tinyurl.com/UPI-Sentencing-Memorandum. Some of its content may be disturbing.

Castro abducted Berry, DeJesus and Knight separately over two years starting in 2002, authorities say. The young women were rescued after Berry kicked in a screen door and yelled to neighbors for help. A 6-year-old girl, Berry's daughter fathered by Castro, was also rescued.

As part of the plea agreement with prosecutors, Castro would forfeit his home and his savings. Prosecutors said his home would be demolished soon.





Source: Copyright UPI 2013


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