Today Ariel Castro was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to 977 counts, which include 512 counts of kidnapping and 446 counts of rape. Castro held three young women captive in his Cleveland, OH, home for a decade, and the disturbing details of their kidnapping have shed light on the way they were treated. Entries from the women's diaries have revealed that they were fed just one meal a day, regularly raped, and generally "treated like animals." The victims — Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, and Gina DeJesus — spoke out for the first time on July 8 with an emotional video to thank their supporters and express hope for their futures.
Today, Knight spoke out again during the sentencing, and Castro himself talked about his motivation, his personal issues, and his perspective on how the women were treated. Take a look at the shocking, heartbreaking, must-read quotes from Castro and the victims during his sentencing:
- On his behavior: "I'm not a monster. I'm just sick. I have an addiction. Just like an alcoholic has an addiction . . . I was driven by sex."
- Addressing the victims: "Thank you, victims. Please find it in your heart to forgive me."
- On his treatment of the women: "I'm not a violent person. I simply kept them there so they couldn't leave . . . God as my witness, I never beat these women like they're trying to say that I did. I never tortured them."
- On the charge of a forced miscarriage: "I never killed anyone. I'm not a murderer."
- On her captivity: "I cried every night. I was so alone. I worried about what would happen to me and the other girls every day. Days never got shorter. Days turned into nights, nights turned into days. The years turned into eternity. I knew nobody cared about me. He told me that my family didn't care. Nobody should ever have to go through what I went through."
- On her friendship with DeJesus: "She never let me fall, I never let her fall. She nursed me back to health when I was dying from his abuse. My friendship with her was the only thing that was good out of this situation. We said that we would some day make it out alive and we did."
- Addressing Castro: "You took 11 years of my life away and I have got it back. I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning. I will overcome all this that happened but you will face hell for eternity. From this moment on, I will not let you define me or affect who I am. I will live on, you will die a little every day as you think about the 11 years and atrocities you inflicted on us. The death penalty will be so much easier. You don't deserve that, you deserve life in prison."