Posted: Aug 1, 2013 12:34 PM by CBS News
Updated: Aug 1, 2013 2:15 PM
(CBS) -- Speaking before the court at a sentencing hearing, admitted Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro asked his victims for forgiveness and said that he is "not a monster."
A judge sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 1,000 years.
Castro vehemently denied that he beat and raped the three women he held captive in his Cleveland home for about ten years.
"I am not a violent person. I know what I did is wrong, but I am not a violent person. I simply kept them there without them being able to leave," Castro said.
He described himself as "sick," saying he has an addiction to masturbation and pornography.
"To clear the record, I am not a monster, I did not prey on these women, I just acted on my sexual instincts because of my sexual addiction," Castro said. "As God is my witness, I never beat these women like they're trying to say I did. I never tortured them."
He said he had consensual sex with the women.
As he sentenced Castro, judge Michael Russo said that the victims should have been free to live their lives and "should never have had anyone trick them into captivity for an hour, not even for a moment."
"You don't deserve to be out in our community," Russo told Castro. "In your mind, you're a victim, as opposed to those who did suffer the victimization."
Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts including aggravated murder, kidnapping, rape and assault July 26 in a plea deal that spares him from the death penalty.
Numerous witnesses testified for prosecutors during Castro's sentencing hearing Thursday before he spoke. They outlined how he abducted the women from the same Cleveland street and held them captive for about ten years. He also kept their captivity secret from friends, family and the community. Prosecutors then displayed photographs of the interior of the home and used a model of the structure as witnesses detailed how Castro restrained the women and abused them psychologically and physically.
As Castro spoke, he apologized to the three victims, at one point turning to face kidnapping victim Michelle Knight, who sat in the courtroom.
"You guys all know the harmony that went on in that home," he said.
His six-year-old daughter, he said, had a "normal life."
"I tried to take her in public and give her a normal life, 'Look, this is how it works,'" Castro said. "I would take her to church and come home and just be normal, like a normal family."
Knight gave an emotional statement Thursday at the sentencing hearing of her captor, describing her 11 years in captivity as an "eternity."
Knight stood before the court, crying. She addressed a portion of her words to Castro, though she didn't turn to face him.
"You took 11 years of my life away, and now I have got it back," Knight said. "I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning."
Castro pleaded guilty to more than 900 counts including aggravated murder, kidnapping and rape in a plea deal that spares him from the death penalty. Speaking to Castro, Knight said that the death penalty "is so much easier."
"You don't deserve that," Knight said. "You deserve to spend the rest of your life in prison."
Knight cried as she described missing her son during her time in captivity, who was two and a half years old at the time she was taken. "Christmas was the most traumatic day," she said. "I never got to spend it with my son."
She described Gina DeJesus as her friend and "teammate."
"She nursed me back to health when I was dying from his abuse," she said. "My friendship with her was the only thing good out of this situation. We said we would someday make it out alive, and we did."
Family members for Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry also gave victim impact statements to the court.
Speaking in court, prosecutor Anna Faraglia blasted Castro, calling his behavior "brazen."
"Giving the appearance that he was a good guy in the community, that he would take his 6-year-old daughter and represent her as the daughter of his girlfriend - brazen behavior of a cold, calculated, self-absorbed human being that does not need to see the light of day," said Faraglia.
As he sentenced Castro, judge Michael Russo said that Castro made a "calculated decision to do wrong."
He said in Castro's mind, there was happiness and harmony in the home. "I'm not sure there's anyone else in America that would agree with you," he said.
Russo addressed the victims, saying they "have persevered, and in fact, they've prevailed."
Turning to Michelle Knight just before court adjourned, he said, "We wish each of you success and a sense of peace."