Ohio kidnap victims Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight came one step closer to recovery today with the sentencing of Ariel Castro in their abduction and captivity.
Castro opted for a plea in the case of the Ohio kidnap victims, sparing him a date with the chair and ensuring his three former captives would not experience the horror of reliving their abuse in open court.
Part of the hearing focused on the plight of the women during their years locked in Castro's home, long believed to be dead by families who gave up hope that a child could remain missing for so long and return.
Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty discussed diaries kept by the women at today's hearing, noting that Ariel Castro "admits his disgusting and inhuman conduct" but "remains remorseless for his actions." In court, Castro indeed said that the victims painted him to be a "monster" but argued he was really just "sick."
Diary entries were described by McGinty in a sentencing memorandum for the Ohio kidnap victims case, where he explains:
"The entries speak of forced sexual conduct, of being locked in a dark room, of anticipating the next session of abuse, of the dreams of someday escaping and being reunited with family, of being chained to a wall, of being held like a prisoner of war... of being treated like an animal."
At the hearing, Barbara Johnson of the Cleveland Police Department testified about finding the Ohio kidnap victims when she arrived on scene the day they were rescued:
"All three of them were very pale — still kind of reluctant, not really sure what was happening... Thin, pale, scared."
Knight told Castro that her years in captivity were "hell," but that his hell was "just beginning" as he faced life behind bars for the horrors she, Berry and DeJesus faced while in captivity.
After the Ohio kidnap victims' rescue, Knight required facial reconstruction surgery after sustaining multiple and repeated blows to the face from Castro.