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Ariel Castro: I'm Not a Monster, I'm Sick (VIDEO OF VICTIM STATEMENTS)
CLEVELAND (AP) -- The man convicted of imprisoning three women in his Cleveland home for a decade has apologized to his victims but also claims most of the sex was consensual.
Ariel Castro says he isn't a monster. He says he's sick and addicted to pornography. He says he didn't even plan the first kidnapping.
He says he knows what he did was wrong, but that he's not a violent person and that his captives asked for sex and weren't tortured.
The women described horrific conditions in the home, which Castro turned into a jury-rigged prison.
Castro spoke during his sentencing hearing Thursday where a judge could order him to serve life in prison plus 1,000 years.
The 53-year-old Castro pleaded guilty last week to 937 counts.
Castro Sentencing: DeJesus Family Member
Castro Sentencing: Letter Self-Identifies Castro as "Sexual Predator"
Castro Sentencing: DeJesus Family Member
Castro Sentencing: Michelle Knight Comment
Castro Sentencing: Judge Says Castro Can Only Die Once in Prison
Castro Sentencing: Defendant Speaks
Cleveland Kidnapping Victim: I Cried Every Night
CLEVELAND (AP) -- One of the victims of convicted Cleveland kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro says at his sentencing hearing that she cried every night and that her years in captivity "turned into eternity."
Michelle Knight says she spent 11 years in hell and that Castro's hell is now beginning.
Her appearance is the first time she's been seen publicly since her rescue from the house where she was held captive for 10 years.
The 32-year-old Knight was the first woman abducted by Ariel Castro in 2002 after he lured her into his house with the promise of a puppy for her son.
Castro has pleaded guilty to charges that he repeatedly raped Knight and two other victims, and also forced Knight to miscarry after he impregnated her.
Knight was the only victim to testify. Relatives spoke for the other two victims.
Ariel Castro Tries to Apologize During Sentencing But is Cut Short
CLEVELAND -- Ariel Castro is in court this morning to be sentenced for his conviction of imprisoning three women in his home for about 10 years.
CNN is reporting that Castro tried to apologize to his victims, but Judge Michael Russo cut him off, telling him he would be able to speak later.
CNN reports that defense attorney Craig Weintraub said Castro accepts "full responsibility" for his conduct.
Castro is expected to speak at length during his sentencing, delivering a statement that his sister promises will allow people to see "the other side of Ariel Castro."
Castro pleaded guilty last week to 937 counts, including murder and kidnapping. The deal eliminated the death penalty as a possible sentence in exchange for life in prison plus 1,000 years.
The sentencing hearing is expected to last hours and include witness testimony and evidence, a Cuyahoga County court source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told CNN.
CNN is reporting that at least one of Castro's victims, Michelle Knight, will likely make an impact statement during the hearing, Castro's sister Marisol Alicea told CNN. An official with direct knowledge of the investigation also said Knight intends to speak.
According to CNN, the other two women -- Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry -- will not be present in the court, according to the attorney representing the three women. They could make a videotaped statement, or a family member could talk on their behalf.
Miami Valley Crime StoppersIf you have information about a crime that has occurred, call Miami Valley Crime Stoppers at 937-222-7867 (STOP) 800-637-5735, 24 hours a day. Callers can remain anonymous.
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