Michelle Knight said she has forgiven Ariel Castro. On August 22, 2002, Knight was kidnapped by Castro at the age of 21. She and two others were held captive inside Castro’s Cleveland, Ohio, home for over 10 years. Although all three women were repeatedly tortured and raped, Knight said her former captor deserves forgiveness.
On May 6, 2013, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight, escaped Castro’s home. The story gained worldwide attention, as the three women had been missing for more than a decade. Following their escape, Berry, DeJesus, and Knight explained that they were kidnapped, held against their will, tortured, and sexually abused.
MSNBC reports that authorities eventually identified 52-year-old Ariel Castro as the kidnapper and rapist. He was arrested and charged with 977 criminal counts, including aggravated murder, assault, child endangerment, gross sexual imposition, kidnapping, rape, and possession of criminal tools.
On July 26, 2013, Castro entered into a plea agreement with the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas court. He was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years. Less than two months later, Castro was found dead inside his cell. Authorities determined he committed suicide by hanging.
One year after her harrowing escape, Michelle Knight said she has forgiven Ariel Castro:
“If I did something wrong, even if it was a small thing, I would want somebody to forgive me, so I can forgive him for what he done wrong because that’s the way of life.”
In a recent interview with Today, Knight said she was “saddened by” Castro’s suicide. She said “he was a human being, and every human being needs to be loved, even though they did something wrong.”
“You took 11 years of my life away, and I never got it back… I spent 11 years in hell, now your hell is just beginning. I will overcome all this that happened, but you will face hell for eternity.”
Michelle Knight has indeed overcome her tortured past. Throughout the last year, she has made great strides as she enjoys her freedom. Knight, who has changed her name to Lillian Rose Lee, said the simple things in life are the most important: “being able to wake up in the morning, make a cup of coffee… watch TV, listen to music and just look at the beautiful sky.”
Knight said she is simply enjoying her freedom and looking forward to her future.
Although Michelle Knight has forgiven Ariel Castro, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus have not. Knight said she has little contact with Berry and DeJesus but she hopes they can “get back together” some day.