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Thursday 31 July 2014

Ariel Castro to be jailed for life

Published 27/07/2013|02:52

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Ariel Castro will spend the rest of his life in jail for abducting and holding captive three women (AP)
Ariel Castro enters the courtroom in Cleveland, Ohio (AP)

A man accused of holding three women captive in his home for a decade has agreed to plead guilty in a deal to avoid the death penalty in the United States.

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In exchange, prosecutors recommended Ariel Castro, 53, be sentenced to life without parole plus 1,000 years.

He abducted Michelle Knight, 32, Amanda Berry, 27, and Gina DeJesus, 23, from Cleveland streets. The three women disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old.

Each said they had accepted a ride from Castro, who remained friends with the family of one of the women and even attended vigils over the years marking her disappearance

Castro was arrested in May after one of the women escaped. Castro was charged with murder for beating and starving one of the women, who was pregnant, until she miscarried.

Jones Day, a law firm representing the three women, said they were "satisfied" with the agreement and "relieved" by his guilty plea.

Castro, wearing glasses for the first time in court during the hearing in Cleveland, Ohio, said he understood that he would never get out of prison and expected he was "going to get the book thrown" at him.

"I knew that when I first spoke to the FBI agent when I first got arrested," he added.

Answering the judge's questions in a clear, intelligible voice, Castro - who was born in Puerto Rico - said he could read and understand English well but had trouble with comprehension.

"My addiction to pornography and my sexual problem has really taken a toll on my mind," he said.

Press Association

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