Cleveland kidnappings suspect takes plea deal

Castro, 53, kidnapped three women, held them captive in his Cleveland home for about a decade and raped them repeatedly. His trial was scheduled to start Aug. 5.

The kidnapper’s deal includes a sentence of life plus 1,000 years without the possibility of parole and he will avoid re-indictment. He will not face the death penalty.

Castro faced a net count of 937 offenses.

He originally pleaded not guilty to nearly 1,000 counts of kidnapping, rape and other crimes. His 576-page indictment includes two counts of aggravated murder for allegedly punching and starving one of the women until she miscarried.

Castro was in court to enter the guilty plea today. When asked if he understood he would never be released from prison, Castro said: “I do understand that, your honor.”

He added, “I knew I was pretty much going to get the book thrown at me.”

Castro is said to have been restraining the women, sometimes chaining them to a pole in a basement, to a bedroom heater or inside a van. His indictment charged him with 512 counts of kidnapping, 446 counts of rape, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, six counts of felonious assault, three counts of child endangerment and one count of possessing criminal tools.

The women disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were in their teens or early 20s. Each said she had accepted a ride from Castro.

Castro, a former school bus driver, was arrested May 6 shortly after the women escaped to freedom.

Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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