Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years in prison today, one week after he pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty.
The court in Cuyahoga County (Oh.) is seizing the property of the criminal and imposing a fine of $100,000 on him, in addition to his massive sentence.
"There is no place in this city, there is no place in this country, there is no place in this world for those who enslave others," Judge Michael Russo told him.
"A person can only die in prison once," Russo added of the mammoth sentence, which he said was "commensurate with the harm" done by Ariel Castro.
Russo, noting how Castro treated victims, said consecutive sentences rendered in his case must be "imposed" to protect the public and "to punish you."
"You don't deserve to be out in our community. You're too dangerous."
Speaking at his sentencing hearing, Castro turned around in the courtroom and glanced at family members of the victims. "I am truly sorry," he said.
"Thank you victims. Please find it in your heart to forgive me," he said at the end of his statement, but the judge and the victims were quite unmoved.
Ariel Castro took issue with the aggravated murder charge related to the allegation that his abuse terminated the pregnancy of one of his victims.
He said there was no evidence that the incident ever occurred; Castro did plead guilty to that and nearly 400 counts of kidnapping and rape, however.
When Judge Russo reminded him that he pleaded guilty, Castro said he did so only to save his three female victims further psychological trauma.
Castro tried to argue that he is "sick" and not a monster as portrayed, but Russo countered that he fits the very definition of a "violent sexual predator."
Russo said Castro admitted this as well "by virtue of your plea."
Noting that Castro had an "outwardly" normal relationship with a girlfriend, Russo said it's clear "you are able to choose who you wish to victimize."
Tragically, he victimized Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight for a decade, chaining them in his basement and raping them repeatedly.
Knight spoke out about her ordeal at the hearing today (below). A thousand years can't help these brave young woman heal, but it's a good start.