US man who kidnapped/raped three women for 10 years pleads guilty
The Cleveland man accused of raping and holding three women captive in his home for about a decade has agreed to a plea deal that will see him imprisoned for life without the possibility of parole.
Ariel Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts in a deal to avoid the death penalty.
Castro told the judge he was addicted pornography, had a "sexual problem" and had been a sexual abuse victim himself long ago.
In exchange for his plea, prosecutors recommended Castro be sentenced to life without parole plus 1,000 years.
Castro, 53, said he understood that he would never get out of prison, saying he expected he was "going to get the book thrown at me." He later added, "I knew that when I first spoke to the FBI agent when I first got arrested."
Castro, wearing glasses for the first time in court, was far more interactive than in previous court appearances when he mostly kept his head down and eyes closed.
He answered the judge's questions in a clear, intelligible voice, saying he understood the proceedings and that he would never be released from prison.
Castro, who was born in Puerto Rico, said he could read and understand English well but had trouble with comprehension.
Near the end of the 2 1/2-hour hearing, the judge accepted the pleas and declared Castro guilty.
Sentencing was set for Thursday.
Fifty-three-year-old Ariel Castro was arrested in May after one of the women escaped.
He abducted Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus from the streets of Cleveland between 2002 and 2004.
Castro was charged with murder from beating and starving one of the women, who was pregnant, until she miscarried.
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