The way Ariel Castro tells it he lived in a harmonious home with three women and a daughter a happy existence — albeit one riddled with sex addiction — and it was absent of the any of the horror and torture that brought Castro’s name into the headlines.
“Most of the sex that went on in the house – practically all of it, was consensual. These allegations about being forceful, that is totally wrong,” Castro told the judge.
But as Castro sat in court Thursday, casually moving his shackled feet, one of his victims told a different story.
“My name is Michelle Knight, and I’d like to tell you what eleven years was like for me”, said Castro.
Michele Knight offered a bone-chilling, firsthand account the tortuous life she, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus lived for more than a decade – at the hands of their captor – Castro.
“Days never got shorter. Days turned into nights. Nights turned into days. Years turned into eternity,” said Knight.
Castro’s sentence: life plus a thousand years. It guarantees Ariel Castro will die in prison. The only question is when. Given the brutality of his confessed crimes and the form of justice that often exists behind bars, it may be sooner rather than later.
“Nobody should ever have to go through what I had to go through – or anybody else, not even my worst enemy”, said Knight.
Knight was kidnapped first and held the longest, along with Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus.
“Gina was my teammate. She never let me fall – I never let her fall. She nursed me back to health when I was dying from his abuse,” said Knight.
Photos taken from inside the prison Castro created for the three women only hint at the horror his three victims lived through over a decade.
Dr. Frank Ochberg, a pioneer in analyzing post-traumatic stress disorder is cautiously optimistic about their chance at a normal life.
“The damage that was done does not go away. They have life sentences,” said Dr. Ochberg.
“I think they will – with love and support, and community – with what they bring to the table, they have a good chance to have a good life. But that doesn’t mean that they will ever be free of the damage that was done,” added Dr. Ochberg.
Ariel Castro also spoke in court.
“These people are trying to paint me as a monster, and I’m not a monster. I’m sick,” said Castro.
It’s clear the man who lured all three of his victims off the same Cleveland street and kept them alive for the sole purpose of physically, sexually, and emotionally abusing them — is either in denial, mentally ill or both.
“I am truly sorry for what happened. To this day, I’m trying to answer my own questions. I don’t know why . . . I had a job, I had a home, I had vehicles, I had my musical talent. I had everything going on for me your honor. I have good history of working, with providing. I just hope they can find it in their hearts to forgive me,” said Castro.
“I know I am 100% wrong. I am saying that they’re trying to say that I am violent person. I am not a violent person. I drove a school bus. I had a family. I do have value for human life,” added Castro.
Judge Michael Russo offered a simple explanation for sentencing Castro to consecutive terms.
“Means to me that you still pose a great danger to the community if you would receive anything other than a consecutive sentence. You don’t deserve to be out in our community. You’re too dangerous,” said Judge Russo.
Despite Castro’s attempt to appear sincere, no one in the courtroom seemed to be fooled.
Not even his own lawyer, Craig Weintraub.
“I think that based on what we have observed in this case, he certainly fits the definition of a sociopath and the judge also indicated that he has a narcissistic personality, which seems to as well be appropriate,” said Weintraub.AlertMe