- (Photo: Reuters/John Gress)
Ariel Castro, accused of kidnapping and raping three women in an Ohio home for over a decade, attempted to apologize for his actions during a sentencing hearing on Thursday.
On Friday Castro plead guilty to 937 counts, including kidnapping, rape, assault and aggravated murder. He is expected to receive life in prison with an additional 1,000 years and no chance of parole. During the sentencing hearing in court Thursday, Castro attempted to apologize for his acts.
"I want to apologize to the victims,'' Castro said at the outset. He was prevented from continuing however by Judge Michael Russo, who informed the defendant that their would be time to speak later on.
The three women held in Castro's captivity, Michelle Knight, 32, Amanda Berry, 27, and Gina DeJesus, 23- have all accused Castro of abuse, rape, and even neglect. In some cases, the victims claimed that they would be forced to go days without food.
"All three of them looked fairly gaunt, all three of them related that they had been allowed minimal time outside the house at all," Dr. Gerald Maloney, who was the first to see the women after they were removed, told CNN. "They related information regarding sexual assaults to us and also to the sexual assault nurse examiner."
Attorney Craig Weintraub defended that his client suffered from "significant, undiagnosed mental illness" which spurned from years of being abused. There are still unknown "facts that are incomprehensible" Weintraub added.
The court is expected to hear Castro's side of the events. During this time, Catro's sister expressed hope that people would be able to see "the other side of Ariel Castro."
"(People will) see the other side of Ariel Castro ... not the monster that everyone thinks he is," Marisol Alicea told CNN on Wednesday.
But the major purpose of the hearing "is about making clear this man's acts had on his victims and this community,'' Joseph Frolik, a spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's office, said according to USA Today.