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Ariel Castro pleads guilty, awaits sentencing

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Ariel Castro pleads guilty, awaits sentencing

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CLEVELAND (AP) — A man accused of kidnapping three women, keeping them captive in his Cleveland home for a decade and raping them repeatedly is waiting to be sentenced after pleading guilty in a deal to avoid the death penalty.
Ariel Castro, 53, a former school bus driver, pleaded guilty Friday to 937 counts in the deal, which sends him to prison for life without parole, plus 1,000 years.
Wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, eyeglasses and a bushy beard, Castro was far more engaged than in previous court appearances when he mostly kept his head down and eyes closed. He answered the judge’s questions in a clear voice, saying he understood that he would never be released from prison and adding that he expected he was “going to get the book thrown at me.”
He told the judge he was addicted to pornography, had a “sexual problem” and was himself the victim of sexual abuse long ago.
“My addiction to pornography and my sexual problem has really taken a toll on my mind,” he said.
The judge accepted Castro’s plea, declared him guilty, and set his sentencing for Thursday.
The women, who did not attend the court proceeding, said in a statement they were relieved by the conviction.