Cleveland kidnap accused Castro agrees to plea deal
Prosecutors agree to life sentence without parole but bus driver won’t face death penalty
Accused Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro today agreed to plead guilty and serve life in prison without parole for the abduction and abuse of three women over about a decade. Photograph: Cleveland Police Dept/Handout via Reuters.
Former Cleveland school bus driver Ariel Castro has agreed to plead guilty and be imprisoned for life for kidnapping and raping three women he held captive in his home for about a decade.
At a court hearing today, Ohio prosecutors in turn agreed that Castro will not be eligible for the death penalty.
Castro (53) clad in an orange prison jumpsuit, told Cuyahoga County Judge Michael Russo that he understood he would never emerge from prison under the agreement. “I do understand that,” he responded. “I knew I was pretty much going to get the book thrown at me.”
The women disappeared between 2002 to 2004, and were freed from Castro’s home in a rundown area of Cleveland on May 6th. A girl (6) who, according to DNA evidence, was fathered by Castro with Ms Berry during her captivity was also rescued.
The women had been bound for periods of time in chains or ropes and endured starvation, beatings and sexual assaults, according to court documents and a police report. Avoiding a trial would spare them from having to testify.
His indictment includes two counts of aggravated murder related to accusations that he punched and starved one of the women until she miscarried.Under Ohio law, prosecutors could have sought the death penalty for the murder charge, but the plea agreement precludes that.