August 1, 2013

Excerpts from Ohio kidnapper's sentencing

The Associated Press

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Ariel Castro, center, listens in the courtroom during the sentencing phase Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, in Cleveland. Defense attorney's Craig Weintraub, left, and Jaye Schlachet sit beside Castro. Three months after an Ohio woman kicked out part of a door to end nearly a decade of captivity, Castro, a onetime school bus driver faces sentencing for kidnapping three women and subjecting them to years of sexual and physical abuse. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

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Ariel Castro, I remember all the times that you came home talking about what everybody else did wrong and act like you wasn't doing the same thing. You said, "At least I didn't kill you."

You took 11 years of my life away and I have 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.

From this moment on I will not let you define me or affect who I am.

I will live on. You will die a little every day. As you think about the 11 years and the atrocities you inflicted on us, what does God think of you hypocritically going to church every Sunday, coming home to torture us.

Death penalty will be so much easier. You don't deserve that. You deserve to spend life in prison. I can forgive you but I will never forget. With the guidance of God, I will prevail and help others that have suffered at the hands of others. Writing this statement gave me the strength to be a stronger woman, and know that's there's more good than evil.

I know that there's a lot of people going through hard times. But we need to reach out a hand and hold them and let them know that they're being heard.

After 11 years, I am finally being heard and it's liberating. Thank you all. I love you. God bless you.

CUYAHOGA COUNTY COMMON PLEAS COURT JUDGE MICHAEL RUSSO'S STATEMENT TO CASTRO

Sir, there's no place in this city, there's no place in this country, indeed there's no place in this world for those who enslave others, those who sexually assault others or those who brutalize others.

For more than 10 years you have preyed upon three young women. You subjected them to harsh and violent conduct. You felt you were dominating them. But you were incorrect.

You could not take away their dignity. Although they suffered terribly, Miss Knight, Miss DeJesus and Miss Berry did not give up hope. They have persevered. In fact, they've prevailed. These remarkable women again have their freedom, which is the most precious aspect of being an American.

Mr. Castro, you forfeited that right. You've now become a number with the Department of the Rehabilitation and Correction. You'll be confined for the remainder of your days.

EXCERPTS OF A STATEMENT READ BY BETH SERRANO, SISTER OF VICTIM AMANDA BERRY

The impact of these crimes on our family is something that we do not want to discuss with people we don't know. Even if I wanted to talk about it, it is impossible to put into words. For me, I lost my sister for all those years and thought it was forever. And we lost my mother forever. And she died not knowing. My mother and my sister, the two most loving people in the world. It is impossible to put into words how much it hurts.

Amanda is not here today. She is strong, beautiful, inside and out, and is doing better every day. She's not just my only sister, but the best friend I have and the best person I know. She does not want to talk about these things. She has not talked about these things even with me. And she does not want other people to talk about these things.

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