Ariel Castro Avoids Death Penalty With Life-Sentence Plea Deal

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 26 2013 11:26 AM

Ariel Castro Avoids Death Penalty With Life-Sentence Plea Deal

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Ariel Castro stands with his head down during his arraignment on kidnapping and rape charges on May 9, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Matt Sullivan

Ariel Castro will avoid the death penalty. The man who kidnapped and repeatedly raped three women who he held captive in his Cleveland home for a decade accepted a plea deal this morning that will send him to prison for the rest of his life without the possibility of parole. The Chicago Tribune:

Castro, 53, clad in an orange prison jumpsuit, told Cuyahoga County Judge Michael Russo that he understood he would never emerge from prison under the agreement. "I do understand that," Castro responded. "I knew I was pretty much going to get the book thrown at me." Castro was charged with 977 counts, including kidnapping and rape, for the abduction and imprisonment of Gina DeJesus, 23, Michelle Knight, 32, and Amanda Berry, 27.
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Castro will officially be sentenced to life plus an additional 1,000 years of prison time. Prosecutors had previously suggested they would seek the death penalty under the Ohio law that classifies a forced miscarriage as aggravated murder. In the end, however, the plea deal brings a quick ending to what could have been a lengthy trial that would have forced Castro's victims to relive their time under his control.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.