Cleveland Kidnapping Update: Victim could face Ariel Castro in court, source …
27 Jul, 2013
YouTube user HennesPaynterComm/CBS News
(CBS/AP) CLEVELAND – One of the three Cleveland kidnapping victims is set to testify against the man charged with holding them captive for up to ten years in his home, a source tells CBS News. It would be their first meeting between victim and captor since the three women escaped from the Cleveland home on May 6.
As part of a plea deal yet to be accepted by a judge, Ariel Castro pleaded guilty to holding the three women captive for about a decade.
Sources tell CBS News’ investigative unit that one of the three women is expected to testify live in court during the Thursday hearing, during which Ariel Castro will be formally sentenced. The two other women may confront Castro via video, though those plans have not yet been finalized.
Castro, the Ohio man accused of kidnapping Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight and holding them captive in his Cleveland home, accepted a plea deal Friday that will spare him from the death penalty. Prosecutors have recommended he be sentenced to life without parole plus an additional 1,000 years.
A judge will rule on whether to accept the sentence.
“He is never coming out, and that is justice,” state prosecutor Timothy McGinty said, reports CBS News correspondent Terrell Brown.
As a part of the deal, Castro pleaded guilty Friday to 937 charges, including aggravated murder, kidnapping and rape.
“I knew I was going to get pretty much the book thrown at me,” Castro said.
Castro also described himself as a victim, saying, “Addiction to pornography has taken a toll on my mind.”
AP Photo/Tony Dejak
During the hearing Thursday, prosecutors plan to bring in to court the chains they say Castro used to restrain the three women and a gun they say he used to threaten them, the source tells CBS News.
Prosecutors also plan to bring in to court the potties they say the women were forced to use and a door from the house, the source told CBS News. They will also outline the daily routine the women faced.
Experts may also testify during the hearing and will provide written reports to the court on topics such as Stockholm Syndrome, a psychological condition in which hostages sympathize with their captors, according to the source.
Friday, a judge said Castro could speak at the hearing if he chose.
The site of Castro’s home, which is set to be demolished, may be developed into a community garden or park using the $22,000 Castro had in his possession, the source says.
Earlier Friday, the three women said they are relieved that Ariel Castro has pleaded guilty to the charges that will keep him in prison for life.
“Amanda, Gina, and Michelle are relieved by today’s plea,” read a statement released Friday by a law firm representing the women. “They are satisfied by this resolution to the case, and are looking forward to having these legal proceedings draw to a final close in the near future. ”
The victims are continuing to ask for privacy and say they don’t want to speak publicly.
Berry, DeJesus, and Knight were found in Castro’s Cleveland home in May after Berry kicked in a screen door and yelled to a neighbor for help. The women disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004. Each said they had accepted a ride from Castro, who remained friends with Dejesus’ family and even attended vigils over the years marking her disappearance.
Castro is accused of repeatedly restraining the women, sometimes chaining them to a pole in a basement, to a bedroom heater or inside a van. The charges say one of the women tried to escape and he assaulted her with a vacuum cord around her neck.