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Ariel Castro Accepts Guilty Plea Deal, Will Serve Life Without Parole

Friday, July 26, 2013 at 7:42 PM

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Ariel Castro, at today's hearing.  Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty is in the foreground (pic by Brian Bull)

In a pre-trial hearing Friday, accused kidnapper Ariel Castro agreed to a guilty plea that exempts him from the death penalty and entitles him to life in prison without parole plus 1,000 years. In this clip, ideastream's Bill Rice and Michelle Kanu discuss the case. More WCPN coverage at NPR.org.

Ariel Castro, the man accused of holding three women captive for nearly a decade, has agreed to a plea deal.

Russo: “Mr. Castro, having heard the court advise you of all of your rights, and all the potentials, is it your intention to plead guilty here consistent with this written plea agreement?”

Castro: “It is my intention.  I don’t agree with the wording but I will plead guilty.”

Castro entered the plea this morning in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court before Judge Michael Russo.

In exchange for the plea, prosecutors are recommending Castro be sentenced to life in prison without parole, plus 1,000 years.

Castro appeared more alert and engaged today than in previous hearings.

When Russo asked about Castro’s language skills and ability to comprehend all of the rights that he’s waiving by accepting the deal, Castro admitted to having a sexual addiction.

Castro: “English--I’m very good at spelling, and I’m very good at reading but I can’t comprehend because my addiction to pornography and my sexual problem has really taken a toll on my mind.”

Castro is pleading guilty to an amended 937 counts that include kidnapping, rape, and aggravated murder--for the miscarriage he allegedly forced one of the women to endure.

His sentencing hearing is slated for August 1st and he will be allowed to speak.

Castro’s Seymour Ave. home on Cleveland’s west side--where he allegedly held the women--will be turned over to the Cuyahoga County land bank as part of the plea deal. 

Prosecutor Tim McGinty says it will be demolished soon, along with two abandoned houses next door.  The plan is to turn the empty lot into a park.

A statement released by Jones Day law firm representing the three victims says they are satisfied by the resolution and looking forward to the legal end of the case.

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight say they don’t want to speak publicly and are continuing to ask for privacy.

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