Three Cleveland women kidnapped and raped by former school bus driver Ariel Castro have said they are relieved and satisfied that he will spend the rest of his life in prison under a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32, were abducted by Castro and held captive for as long as 11 years in his house, where he repeatedly raped them. They were rescued on May 6th, along with Berry's 6-year-old daughter fathered by Castro in captivity.
"Amanda, Gina, and Michelle are relieved by today's plea," the three women said in a statement released by the law firm Jones Day.
"They are satisfied by this resolution to the case, and are looking forward to having these legal proceedings draw to a final close in the near future."
Ariel Castro tells the court he understands he will never be released from prison under a plea agreement which means he will not be eligible for the death penalty.
When asked if he understood he would never be released from prison, Ariel Castro said: "I do understand that, your honor."
He added, "I knew I was pretty much going to get the book thrown at me."
The deal comes more than a month after a statement issued on behalf of the women said they were "hopeful for a just and prompt resolution" and had "great faith in the prosecutor's office and the court."
Under the offer, Ariel Castro will spend the rest of his life behind bars plus 1,000 years, without the possibility of parole after he pleaded guilty to the abduction and abuse of three women over a decade.
Castro was charged with 977 counts including kidnapping and rape for snatching the women, holding them in captivity, and brutalizing them for years.
Ariel Castro agreed to plead guilty and serve life in prison without parole for the abduction and abuse of three women over a decade in Ohio.
Under a plea agreement announced in court, Ohio prosecutors agreed that Castro would not be eligible for the death penalty.