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Sunday
Aug042013

Kidnapper Ariel Castro 'Calm and Cooperative' in Temporary Prison Home

ABC News(CLEVELAND) -- Kidnapper Ariel Castro has been "calm and cooperative" since being moved to his temporary prison home, where he will stay until Ohio officials determine where he will spend the rest of his life, a Department of Corrections spokeswoman said on Sunday.

Castro was moved to Lorain Correctional Institution at 6:25 p.m. on Friday where he'll be in solitary confinement, Department of Corrections Spokeswoman JoEllen Smith told ABC News.

Lorain is a "reception prison" where Castro will be evaluated before being moved to his still undetermined permanent prison, she said. He may be at Lorain for weeks.

Castro accepted a plea deal on July 27 that sends him to prison for life plus "not less than 1,000 years" with no chance of parole for abducting three women and keeping them as sex slaves for over a decade.

At his sentencing hearing this week, he shocked a Cleveland court by saying he is "not a monster," "lived a normal life" and that the sex he had with the three women he held captive for more than a decade was "consensual."

Castro's statement came after one of his victims, the petite Michelle Knight, confronted him for the "hell" she endured in his house for 11 years.

Castro showed no reaction to the remarks by Knight. Instead, he gave a rambling speech in which he depicted himself as a person who had "everything going" for himself but was plagued by an addiction to porn.

Castro, 53, also denied that he ever raped Knight or his two other victims, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, during the years they were incarcerated in his house.

"Most of the sex that went on in the house, and probably all of it, was consensual," Castro said.

"These people are trying to paint me as a monster. I'm not a monster. I'm sick. My sexual problem, it's so bad on my mind," Castro said.

"God as my witness, I never beat these women like they're trying to say that I did. I never tortured them," he said.

He insisted "there was a lot of harmony" in his house among himself and his captives.

Castro had such an emotional attachment to the home that prosecutors said he broke down in tears when he had to sign over the property deed last week, saying it was wrong to tear it down because he had so many happy memories there.

When Castro finished, Judge Michael Russo thanked Knight for her "remarkable restraint" during the statement.

"You're welcome," she replied, prompting light laughter.

Castro's statement came after Knight bravely delivered a victim's impact statement telling the man who tormented her for more than a decade that "I will live on, but you will die a little every day."

Knight scoffed at Castro for "going to church every Sunday and coming home to torture us."

Berry and DeJesus did not appear in court but had statements read in court for them.

As one woman finished her statement she turned to Castro and said in Spanish, "May God have mercy on your soul."

Castro, manacled at the hands and feet, stared emotionless ahead during the statements.

During the hearing, detectives told how he captured the three women and subjected them to a decade of torture, which one woman wrote in a diary was like being held as a "prisoner of war."

Prosecutors used a detailed scale model of his house and slides to take the court through his house of horrors, including hidden rooms, chains, motorcycle helmets for his victims and a gun he would use to threaten them.

Knight, 32, the first of the three women to be kidnapped, was in a store asking for directions when she was approached by Castro who offered to give her a ride, said Detective Andy Harasimchuk.

Knight told detectives she accepted the ride because she knew Castro's daughter. Castro then drove her to his house and invited her to come inside to pick out a puppy for her son, at which point Harasimchuk said Knight was restrained with an extension cord, dragged to the basement where she was restrained with chains, had a motorcycle helmet jammed on her head and raped for the first of many times.

Eight months later, on April 21, 2003, Castro targeted Amanda Berry by offering her a ride home from her job at Burger King. Berry knew Castro's son and daughter, and Castro took her to his house so she could talk to his daughter, Harasimchuk said.

She was quickly bound with duct tape, put in a motorcycle helmet and chained to a pole in the basement.

Castro's third victim, Gina DeJesus, now 23, was friends with his daughter. On one occasion in 2004, she got into Castro's car and he asked her to come in the house to help him carry a speaker to his car, Harasimchuk said. She became uncomfortable and tried to flee in the dark house, she inadvertently ran into a closet and was captured, the detective said.

The home was wired with alarm clocks "in a makeshift manner" to create an alarm system to the house, Harasimchuk said.

The women were kept in two rooms behind a door that could be secured from the outside with a lock, with a circular hole cut towards the bottom of the door that was a source of ventilation, the agent said. The windows were boarded up with very heavy closet doors, he said.

Berry shared one room with her now 6-year-old daughter, who Castro fathered while in captivity. DeJesus and Knight shared an attached, smaller room where a chain was also kept to restrain the women.

According to a sentencing memorandum released Wednesday, the women were restrained by chains attached to their ankles with access only to plastic toilets in the bedrooms that were rarely emptied. Castro fed the women one meal a day and used the "cold of the basement" and the "heat of the attic" as punishment techniques, according to the memo.

The women kept diaries during their incarceration.

"The entries speak of forced sexual conduct, of being locked in a dark room, of anticipating the next session of abuse, of the dreams of someday escaping and being reunited with family, of being chained to a wall, of being held like a prisoner of war," the memorandum says.

Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts, including kidnapping, rape, assault and aggravated murder that will send him to prison for life for abducting the three women and keeping them as sex slaves for more than a decade in his Cleveland home.

The prosecution released the memo in an attempt to persuade the judge to give Castro the sentence that the former bus driver has agreed to accept.

The plea deal spared Castro the death penalty because he was accused of the aggravated murder of a fetus after forcibly causing an abortion in one of his victims who he is accused of impregnating. The deal will also spare the three women from having to testify at a trial.

Castro allegedly told the women that he had previous victims and that "some of them made it home, but others had not." The former bus driver once kept the three women locked in a vehicle for three days while he had a visitor at his home.

The victims were discovered in Castro's home in May.

The documents also addressed Berry's 6-year-old daughter, saying her time in captivity started the day she was born Dec. 25, 2006.

Cleveland police Wednesday also posted a picture on Facebook of a handwritten note by Knight, thanking the authorities for collecting gift and cards from well-wishers.

"Life is tough, but I'm tougher! Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, she became a butterfly," Knight wrote.

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