Accused Cleveland abductor pleads guilty to kidnapping, rape
Friday, July 26, 2013 - 02:11
July 26 - Accused Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro pleaded guilty to kidnapping and rape, in a plea deal that spares him from the the death penalty. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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STORY: Accused Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro pleaded guilty on Friday to kidnapping and raping three women and holding them captive for years.
By accepting a plea deal offered by prosecutors, Castro will serve a life sentence plus 1,000 years, without the possibility of parole, and be spared from the death penalty and a trial.
"I knew I was going to get pretty much the book thrown at me," Castro told Cuyahoga County Judge Michael Russo in court, when asked by the judge whether he understood that the plea deal would mean spending life in prison without any possibility of parole.
He has been charged with 977 counts, including kidnapping and rape, for the abduction and imprisonment of Gina DeJesus, 23, Michelle Knight, 32, and Amanda Berry, 27.
The women disappeared beginning in 2002 and were freed from Castro's home in a rundown area of Cleveland on May 6. Also freed was a six-year-old girl who, according to DNA evidence, was fathered by Castro with Berry during her captivity.
The three women had been bound for periods of time in chains or ropes and endured starvation, beatings and sexual assaults, according to court documents and a police report. Avoiding a trial would spare them from having to testify.
In a poignant moment during the court hearing, prosecutors asked that the women have their names changed in the indictment from Jane Does to their actual names.
Castro has also been charged with murder under a fetal homicide law for allegedly forcing one of the women to miscarry.
Under Ohio law, prosecutors could seek the death penalty for the murder charge and said they were considering it.
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