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Ariel Castro, Cleveland kidnapper, to spend life in jail

Margaret Swofford

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight breathe sighs of relief

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were beyond relieved when they heard that Ariel Castro, the man who held all three women captive for up to 10 years in his home, pleaded guilty on Friday. This Thursday a judge will decide whether to accept his life sentence and an additional 1,000 years.

The three women escaped from Castro’s home on May 6 after being kidnapped, threatened and sexually assaulted. The women, while in captivity, were bound by chains or ropes for extended periods of time, endured starvation, being sexually assaulted and beatings.

He faces 977 charges against him, which include aggravated murder of a fetus one of the women was forced to miscarry, kidnapping and rape.

While Castro, 53, will spend the rest of his life in jail, he will not face the death penalty, despite keeping the women captive and a 6-year-old girl who, from DNA tests, is his child from one of the women.

The chains that Castro used to bind the women, a gun he threatened them with and the potties he forced the women to use will appear in court as evidence. The daily routine of the women while in captivity will also be talked about during the hearing on Thursday.

Castro isn’t surprised by how serious the charges are against him.

“I knew I was going to get pretty much the book thrown at me,” Castro said.

He also talked about his own experience as a child, being a victim of sexual abuse himself.

“My addiction to pornography and my sexual problem has really taken a toll on my mind,” Castro told the judge on Friday. “I was also a victim as a child and it just kept going.”

Despite his interesting comments, the women are happy to hear that he’s taking charge of his actions, according to a statement released by the three’s law firm on Friday.

“Amanda, Gina, and Michelle are relieved by today’s plea,” the statement read. “They are satisfied by this resolution to the case, and are looking forward to having these legal proceedings draw to a final close in the near future.”

Hopefully in the upcoming months the three young women, DeJesus, 23, Knight, 32, and Berry, 27, will find some rest and comfort in finally being free from the horrifying situation they had to face.

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