Ariel Castro has pled guilty to a slew of charges that will have him never see freedom again. But he will remain alive. He appeared in court to plead guilty to 937 criminal counts of kidnapping, rape and aggravated murder. He will receive life in prison with no chance of parole -- plus an additional 1000 years which, unless he's a vampire, he won't serve, but it guarantees he will never get out. Castro kept three women, Amanda Berry, Georgina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight, captive for at least a decade in a house of horrors in Cleveland. Also inside the house was Amanda Berry's child with Castro, Jocelyn.
Castro seemed lucid and calm as he appeared in court. As the judge told him in no uncertain terms that he would never again see the outside of prison walls if he agreed to the deal, he said, "I'm fully aware and I do consent to the agreement." It appears that while Ariel did not value the life of the three women he held captive, he does indeed value his own, as now he will not be put to death. (Anyone surprised he is such a coward at heart?)
The deal also means there will be no trial, the women will not have to testify, and they won't have to relive every horror they'd been through.
A statement released by their law firm said that the women, "are satisfied by this resolution to the case, and are looking forward to having these legal proceedings draw to a final close in the near future."
There is no doubt that the women were consulted about the outcome. They obviously must have chosen life in prison for Castro over the possible death penalty in order that they could get on with their lives and not have to face this horrific man again. They already appear to be miraculously moving on.
Psychologists said that while for some victims testifying against their perpetrator can mean being given a sense of power and resolution, the trauma that these three women endured over such a long period of time would have been devastating and damaging to recount. Not to mention that millions would have been following the trial.
While many of us would have liked to have seen Castro fry, perhaps it is better that he have so many years ahead of him to contemplate his horrific actions and pay for his heinous crimes. It is, however, unfortunate that he will be fed three times a day and given shelter -- things that a lot of innocent people do not have.
Do you think the sentence is fair?
Image via USA Today/AP