One of the women who was captured by Ariel Castro spoke in court on Thursday, cautioning her captor that his "hell was just beginning."
"I will overcome all this that has happened but you will face hell for eternity," Michelle Knight, 32, said in a court statement on Thursday after a judge agreed to a plea bargain in the case. Castro has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole, in addition to 1,000 years behind bars for the kidnapping, rape, and physical abuse of three women, which he held captive for over a decade.
After being one of those women and living in darkness for years, Knight said in court that she was ready to move on with her life.
"You took 11 years of my life away and I have got it back," Knight said at his sentencing hearing in Cleveland. "I spent 11 years in hell, now your hell is just beginning. I will overcome all this that has 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 everyday."
Castro said he wanted to apologize to the victims on Thursday, acknowledging that he has behaved wrongly but stating that he suffered from an illness.
"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 his would be time to speak later on.
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.
Knight appeared to take little interest or comfort in Castro's words, happy instead that her own were being heard.
"After 11 years, I'm finally being heard and it's liberating," she said.