Michelle Knight, one of the three woman abducted and held captive for a decade by Ariel Castro, confronted him in court today, just after his sentencing. The Cleveland churchgoer was convicted on nearly 1000 criminal counts, including rape, and faces life behind bars with no option for parole.
Last week Castro accepted a plea that spared him the death penalty. He pleaded guilty to 937 charges relating to acts carried out on the women he abducted and imprisoned in his home from 2002-2004. The women were discovered in May of this year after one of them escaped.
Ariel Castro addressed the court for at least 20 minutes following his sentencing. He attempted to justify his actions by relating that he was sexually abused as a child and addicted to pornography:
"I'm sick. My sexual problems have been so bad on my mind that I've become impulsive," he said. But the convicted serial rapist didn't stop there; Castro continued to speak in the courtroom, alleging that the sex he had had with the woman wasn't just consensual but that, "many times, the women would ask me for sex – many times."
Judge Michael Russo, who presided over the case, addressed the convicted man saying: "There is no place in this city, no place in this country, nowhere in this world for those who enslave or assault others."
Finally Michelle Knight had her moment, and spoke confidently, speaking to Castro directly about what it was like to have had her son born under his captivity: "I looked inside my heart and I would see my son, and I cried every night. I was so alone. Days never got shorter, days turned into nights, nights turned into days, years turned into eternity."
There was a real sense in the courtroom of justice being done as Michelle Knight continued to talk freely and directly about her experiences in captivity:
"I spent 11 years in hell, and now your hell is just beginning. I will overcome all of this that happened, and you will face hell in eternity. You will die a little every day as you think about 11 years and atrocities you inflicted on us," she said. "I can forgive you, but I can't ever forget."Here is a video clip of Michelle Knight's emotional statement in court today:
What do you think about the statement that Michelle Knight read to the court? Do you think she was brave and went far enough to tell Ariel Castro what she thought of him? Share your comments in the feed below.