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Ariel Castro sentenced to life without parole

Judge Michael Russo imposed the hefty sentence for an aggravated murder charge laid after Castro forcibly terminated the pregnancies of one of his captives.

Ariel Castro looks toward Michelle Knight when he enters the courtroom.
Ariel Castro looks toward Michelle Knight when he enters the courtroom.
Image: AP Photo/Tony Dejak

Updated 18.56

ARIEL CASTRO, THE Ohio man convicted of holding three women captive in his Cleveland house for over a decade and raping them repeatedly, has been sentenced to life without parole.

The fifty-three-year-old was sentenced today after he had pleaded guilty to 937 counts including aggravated murder, kidnapping, rape and assault.

He got the life term for the most serious count and was getting additional time for the hundreds of other counts.

Earlier during then sentencing hearing one of three women kidnapped told her abductor that her life is just beginning while his is over now that he’s about to be sentenced to life in prison.

Michelle Knight stood just feet away from Ariel Castro in a Cleveland courtroom, the first time she’s been seen publicly since her rescue from the house where she was held captive.

“You took 11 years of my life away and I have got it back,” she told Castro. “I spent 11 years in hell. Now you’re hell is just beginning. I will overcome all this has happened, but you will face hell for eternity.”

(Michelle Knight speaks during the sentencing phase for Ariel Castro Thursday. AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Knight, 32, did not face Castro as she spoke, but he glanced toward her several times after she entered the courtroom. Knight was the first woman abducted Castro in 2002 after he lured her into his house with the promise of a puppy for her son.

Castro later made a rambling statement in which he blamed his sex addiction, his former wife and even the FBI for not thoroughly investigating the abductions. He apologized to his victims but also claimed most of the sex was consensual.

“These people are trying to paint me as a monster,” he said. “I’m not a monster. I’m sick.”

He also claimed the women lived a happy life with him. “We had a lot of harmony that went on in that home,” he said.

Read: Kidnapper of Ohio women accepts sentence of more than 1,000 years >

Read: Three women in Ohio kidnap case thank public for support after ‘ordeal’ >

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Associated Press

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