Ariel Castro agrees to plea agreement to avoid death penalty
Fri, 26 Jul 2013 15:24:36 GMT —
The Cleveland man charged with kidnapping and holding captive three women accepts plea agreement Friday morning.
53-year-old Ariel Castro faces life in prison without parole and an additional 1000 years in prison. Castro agreed to changing his plea to guilty in order to avoid the death penalty. The judge said Castro will not be released, be classified as a Tier 3 sex offender, and face multiple fines.
"Because of the plea deal, I plea guilty," Castro said in court.
Castro kidnapped and raped three women, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. The group of women had been held captive under his house for almost a decade. Family members and friends of the victims thought the women had died years ago.
WATCH: Frantic 911 call leads to 3 missing women.
Berry had escaped the house in May with the help of a neighbor, Charles Ramsey, who had heard Berry screaming for help.
WATCH: Charles Ramsey's rescue story
The women experienced years of emotional and physical trauma. DNA results confirmed Castro had fathered Berry's 6-year-old daughter. Castro was indicted on hundreds counts of kidnapping, rape, assault, and other crimes.
The women posted an online video on YouTube thanking them for the public's support.
WATCH: Victims tell a story of strength and courage.
Castro said he was a "victim as a child," and admitted to having a sexual addiction to pornography." The judge responded Castro will have a chance to speak on the hearing scheduled for August 1.