‘I am not a monster’: Kidnapping Cleveland rapist who held three women hostage sentenced to rot in prison

Ariel Cohen Contributor
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Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro was sentenced to a life in prison without parole plus 1,000 years on Thursday for the abduction, raping and holding hostage of three women, with a total of 977 criminal charges.

Castro pleaded guilty in court last week and accepted a plea deal to avoid the death penalty.

“I spent 11 years in hell,” Knight told the court in front of Castro. “Now your hell is just beginning.”

During the course of a decade he kept Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight hostage in his basement, he repeatedly beat, raped and abused the three women. Castro also fathered a child with Berry in 2006 as a product of rape.

Knight was the only one of his victims to testify in court. During her testimony she told Castro that he “didn’t deserve” the death penalty, since it was an easy way out.

“You deserve to spend the rest of your life in prison,” she said.

Castro finally spoke up in court after Knight’s testimony. He claimed that he is not a monster or a violent person, and blamed his actions on an addiction to pornography.

“These people are trying to paint me as a monster,” Castro said in court. “I’m not a monster. I’m sick.”

Castro pleaded guilty to counts of rape and sexual abuse, yet he claims the acts were consensual.

” I did not prey on these women. I just acted on my sexual instincts because of my sexual addiction,” Castro said. “As God is my witness, I never beat these women like they’re trying to say I did. I never tortured them.”

Despite his admission of guilt, Castro held on to the claim that he committed no wrongs, and showed no signs of remorse during his hearing.

“I am not a violent person. I know what I did is wrong, but I am not a violent person. I simply kept them there without them being able to leave,” Castro said.

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