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Entries in Ariel Castro (6)

Wednesday
Sep042013

Cleveland Kidnapper Ariel Castro Found Dead in Prison Cell

Angelo Merendino/Getty Images(ORIENT, Ohio) -- Convicted Cleveland kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro has died after he was found hanged in his prison cell, Ohio Department of Corrections confirmed to ABC News.

Castro, 53, was found hanging in his cell at Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio, on Tuesday at approximately 9:20 p.m. local time, corrections spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said.

Upon finding Castro in his cell, facility staff tried to resuscitate him, according to Smith.  Castro was taken to Ohio State University Medical Center and was pronounced dead at 10:52 p.m.

"Inmate Ariel Castro was found hanging in his cell this evening at 9:20 p.m. at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient.  He was housed in protective custody which means he was in a cell by himself and rounds are required every 30 minutes at staggered intervals," Smith said in a statement.

"A thorough review of this incident is underway and more information can be provided as it becomes available pending the status of the investigation," the statement concluded.

Castro was sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 1,000 years by an Ohio judge on Aug. 1.  Castro, a former school bus driver, kidnapped Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus between 2002 and 2004 and imprisoned them, sometimes restrained by chains, in his Cleveland home.

Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts, including kidnapping, rape, assault and aggravated murder.  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 that he is accused of impregnating.

The women escaped on May 6, when Berry broke part of a door and yelled to neighbors for help.  Castro was arrested that evening.

The home where Castro held his victims was torn down last month as part of the plea deal.

At Castro's sentencing hearing last month, he shocked a Cleveland court by saying he was "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 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.

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."

While in captivity, Berry gave birth to her now 6-year-old daughter, who Castro fathered.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jul282013

Kidnapping Victim Amanda Berry Makes First Public Appearance at Nelly Concert

ABC News(CLEVELAND) -- Just one day after Amanda Berry’s kidnapper pleaded guilty to holding her and two other women captive in his home for over a decade, Berry made her first public appearance at a Nelly concert.

The rapper was performing Cleveland’s Roverfest music festival Saturday night. Berry and her family were introduced as special guest on the state by a WMMS radio host, who goes by the name Rover.

“I want you to give this person a bigger round of applause and cheer than me, anyone on the show, any of the acts that are here,” Rover said to the crowd, who had no idea Berry was in attendance. “Give it up for Amanda Berry!”

He said that Berry had “a little bit of time to make up on the partying,” and hoped that the concert would help.

Nelly called Berry on stage with him later in the night and dedicated a song to her.

This is the first appearance Berry has made at a public event since her escape in May.

Castro was pleaded guilty to 937 charges Friday, and accepted a plea deal for life in prison without parole plus an additional 1,000 years to avoid facing the death penalty.

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun072013

Grand Jury indicts Ariel Castro on 329 counts

Cuyahoga County Jail(CLEVELAND) – The Cleveland man accused of kidnapping three women and holding them for over a decade was indicted on 329 counts by a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury on Friday.

Ariel Castro was indicted for one act of aggravated murder for the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy. He was also indicted on 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, three counts of felonious assault and one count of possession of criminal tools.

The indictments only cover the period from August of 2002, when the first woman was allegedly kidnapped, to February of 2007.

“[Friday’s] indictments represent a first major step in the criminal justice process,’’ said County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty. “Our investigation continues, and we will present our findings to the grand jury.’’

Castro will be arraigned on the charges and assigned a trial judge next week.

The County Prosecutor’s Capital Review Committee will determine whether Castro is eligible for the death penalty once the indictment process is complete.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
May112013

Kidnap Victim's Mother Says She Would Hug Castro, Say 'God Bless You'

ABC News(CLEVELAND) -- The mother of Gina DeJesus, whom Ariel Castro allegedly abducted and kept as a sex slave in his Cleveland home for a decade, had a surprising answer when asked what she would say to Castro.

"I would hug him and I would say, 'God bless you.' I would say, 'God bless you,' and I'd hug him. I did not hate him. I forgave him years ago. I said it: I forgive whoever done it, just let her go," Nancy Ruiz told 20/20 anchor David Muir in an exclusive interview Thursday.

"Because you know what?" Ruiz added. "When you start to hate a person, that eats you up. I don't have time for that. I have to be, you know, I want to be happy, like I am now."

Ariel Castro's cousin, Maria Castro Montes, had a different answer when Muir asked her the same question.

"I wouldn't be able to look at him. I couldn't say anything to him. Why? Shame on you? How could you do this? I don't even want to ask him those questions. I don't even want to look at him," Montes said in an exclusive interview Thursday.

Montes described seeing Castro, 52, occasionally over the time he allegedly held the three women captive.

"When I saw him, I loved him," she said. "This is a man who I loved. This is a man who was a family member. This is a man who has his own family. He has kids, he has grandkids. Those are the ones who have to be suffering the greatest. I don't even know what to say to his kids."

DeJesus, 23, was reunited with her family on Wednesday after nearly 10 years spent as the alleged prisoner of Castro, a man her mother knew for years.

For years after DeJesus' abduction, Castro, who grew up in the same community as Ruiz, would offer the family his support.

As recently as last year, Castro asked Ruiz, "How are you doing?" never indicating he was allegedly keeping her daughter a captive just miles from where she lived.

Ruiz said DeJesus told her that she and two other women, Amanda Berry, 27, and Michelle Knight, 30, were kept chained in the basement of the basement. Later on, they were allowed upstairs and kept in two separate bedrooms for much of the time.

DeJesus and Knight were often kept in one bedroom. Berry and her daughter, 6, whom she gave birth to while in captivity, were held in a second room, Ruiz said.

The women were freed on Monday, when Berry screamed for help from behind a locked door, alerting neighbors who helped kick down the door and called police.

Castro was arraigned Thursday in an Ohio court on charges of kidnapping and rape. Bond was set at $8 million. He did not enter a plea.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
May102013

DNA Test Confirms Cleveland Kidnapping Suspect Fathered 6-Year-Old 

Cuyahoga County Jail(CLEVELAND) -- DNA testing has indicated that Ariel Castro, suspected of kidnapping and raping three women in Cleveland, is the father of the 6-year-old girl born in captivity to one of the kidnapping victims.

The young girl, Jocelyn, is the daughter of Amanda Berry, 27. Berry was allegedly kidnapped by Castro in 2004.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced the results of the preliminary DNA testing on Friday.

According to DeWine, the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation obtained a sample of Castro’s DNA for testing Thursday late afternoon, and forensic scientists worked overnight to test it.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio







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