Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ariel Castro Sentencing Hearing

Last week Ariel Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts of kidnapping, rape and other charges. In lieu of the death penalty, and in exchange for pleading guilty at an early stage and not putting everyone through a trial, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. August 1st was the sentencing hearing, where the judge imposed the sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Also at a sentencing hearing are victim impact statements, if there are any.

At this hearing, the prosecution called witness after witness who described the house that Castro turned into a prison for three women. FBI agent Andrew Burke described the alarm system and how Castro had chained his victims. Bedroom windows were boarded shut from the inside; multiple locks were deployed on heavy doors. Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Det. Dave Jacobs said he talked with Castro a few days after the women escaped and that Castro said, “I knew what I did was wrong.” Under questioning by prosecutors, Cleveland police detective Andrew Harasimchuk said that the women described a pattern of being physically, sexually and emotionally assaulted for years. He said all three women were abducted after Castro offered them a ride, and that each was chained in his basement and sexually assaulted within a few hours of being kidnapped.

Michelle Knight, Castro’s first kidnapped victim in 2002, spoke at the hearing. She was lured into Castro’s house after the promise of a puppy for her son. “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 that happened, but you will face hell for eternity.”

As a victim of a crime you are entitled to address the court at the sentencing hearing, should you desire. Often times family members are able to address the court as well, to speak of what their life has been like as a result of the crime. If you are a victim of a crime, a victim rights attorney can help you with your case by preparing a statement, appearing for you in court, speaking to the judge and the attorneys for you and even reading you statement if you do not want to.

For more information on victim rights please contact the Law Office of Katie Walsh at (714) 619-9355.

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