September 4, 2013

Cleveland kidnapper's suicide brings little sympathy

The Associated Press

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Ariel Castro sits in a Cleveland, Ohio, courtroom Aug. 1 during the sentencing phase of his trial. Castro, who held 3 women captive for a decade, has committed suicide, prison officials said.

The Associated Press

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In this Aug. 7, 2013 file photo, an FBI agent watches as the Cleveland home of Ariel Castro, where three women were held captive and raped for more than a decade, was demolished. Castro, 53, now serving a life sentence for the kidnapping and rapes, was found hanging in his cell, Tuesday night, Sept. 3, 2013, at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

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On Castro's old street Wednesday, freshly planted landscaping was in bloom on the site where his house stood before it was demolished by the city a month ago.

Castro "took the easy way out," said James King, who lives down the street. "He knew what he did was wrong, so he killed himself."

No one answered the door at the home of Castro's mother and brother.

Castro's lawyers tried unsuccessfully to have a psychological examination of Castro done in jail before he was turned over to state authorities, his attorney, Jaye Schlachet, said Wednesday. Schlachet would not comment further.

Michael Casey, director of the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy outside Chicago, said a notorious figure like Castro would have been more apt to be harmed by other inmates, citing the case of Jeffrey Dahmer, the Milwaukee cannibal who was beaten to death in prison in 1994.

He said that given the way Castro managed to hide his crimes for so long, he probably would have been able to conceal any suicidal tendencies from his jailers.

The prison where Castro hanged himself, a so-called reception center for newly arrived inmates, is crowded with nearly twice the 900 prisoners it was meant to hold, according to state figures.

Stress is high and assaults are up at the prison, said Tim Shafer, an official with the guards' union. But he said: "Just like out in the public, suicides happen, and you just can't prevent every one of them."

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A flower garden marks the site of the former home of Ariel Castro on Seymour Avenue in Cleveland on Wednesday. Castro, 53, who was serving a life sentence for the kidnapping and rape of three women, was found hanging in his cell Tuesday night.

AP

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This combo image made from July 8, 2013, file still frames from video provided by Hennes Paynter Communications shows, from left: Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, the three women held captive in a Cleveland home for a decade by Ariel Castro. Castro was found dead hanging in his cell on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, a prison official said. He was sentenced Aug. 1 to life in prison plus 1,000 years on his guilty plea to 937 counts including kidnapping and rape. (AP Photo/Hennes Paynter Communications, File)

 


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