On Sept. 3, convicted rapist Ariel Castro hung himself with a bed sheet in his cell at an Ohio correctional facility. He was barely one month into a jail term that would last for the remainder of his life, without parole, plus another 1,000 years. His sentence was part of a deal to which he agreed to plead guilty to 937 criminal counts of rape, kidnapping and aggravated murder for the abduction, imprisonment, torture and rape of three women — Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus.
Castro forcibly kidnapped all three women between 2002 and 2004 and imprisoned them for years in his home, a ramshackle chamber of horrors in which he locked his captives in brutal conditions to be victimized at will. On Christmas Day, 2006, Amanda Berry gave birth to Castro’s daughter; Castro forced Knight to aid in the delivery and threatened her with death if the child did not survive. Castro kept the daughter as his own captive, sometimes showing pictures of her to friends as a child he had with a girlfriend. On May 6, 2013, Amanda Berry managed to escape and run to the house of a neighbor. The man contacted authorities who swiftly rescued Knight and DeJesus. Berry’s daughter was six at the time.
Castro’s case made national headlines, as the disappearance of his victims had already been an ongoing subject of media interest. As details of Castro’s crimes came to light, the utter monstrosity of his deeds shocked and outraged an entire nation. Castro pled guilty to his crimes, but at his July 12 sentencing he spoke for 20 minutes in a vain attempt to portray himself as a good person who suffered from sexual addiction, and who had never really hurt his captives. Castro received the punishment he deserved but had no intention of accepting it, and successfully committed suicide.