Accused kidnapper, rapist, and murderer, Ariel Castro, has agreed to a plea agreement which will save him from the death penalty now or in any future indictments. Of the original 977 charges 40 have been merged into other counts leaving Castro with 937 counts for which he will enter a plea of guilty.
He will receive a sentence of life without parole plus a minimum of 1,000 years after that sentence. Sort of useless, but I know that the law requires certain things be spelled out regardless of what's already been said. His sentencing hearing has been set for August 1, 2013.
He will forfeit all of his real property and any monies he may have. The judge specified nearly $23,000 in currency but Castro insists there is more than that. The prosecution says the house will be taken apart in totality in order to locate any additional currency.
His house will be demolished and the land is forfeited to the state land bank. The transfer of deed will be signed and executed at the end of this hearing. His personal items, such as photographs and clothing, will be given to his family. His vehicles and other possessions are forfeited to the state in their entirety.
He is now designated as a violent sexual predator. A fine of $20,000 has been imposed for each an every count of rape which in this case are considered first class felonies.
Judge Michael Russo has been going through each of the counts, explaining what level each of the felonies are designated and what the mandatory sentences for each are required by law. After each statement the Judge is asking Castro if he understands what he is being told. Castro has stated that he understands each time the Judge asks.
Castro wanted to add that he had been a victim of sexual abuse as a child. Judge Russo instructed him that this was not the hearing in which that would be addressed. He told Castro that he will have a chance to speak at his sentencing hearing and could address that at that time. Castro brought it up several times. Judge Russo has been very patient in bringing Castro back to the issues at hand.
Castro has entered a plea of guilty to both aggravated murder charges with sexual motivation and sexually violent predator specifications. He balked a bit at the wording of sexually violent predator. The judge categorized the counts by offense. Castro entered a plea of guilty to multiple counts of rape with sexually violent predator specifications in each of those counts.
He has entered a plea of guilty to all of the kidnapping charges which have been designated as first degree felonies. Each charge carries sexual motivation and violent sexual predator specifications.
Two points Judge Russo keeps bringing up are the fact that Castro will never leave prison alive and that by accepting this plea agreement he forfeits all rights to an appeal or other attempts to overturn the agreement.
The hearing has been going on for more than 90 minutes but the Judge is being very meticulous. I am impressed by the judge's even demeanor and meticulous presentation of what is being agreed to in the plea agreement.
Thank the universe for this solution. Now, Amanda, Gina and Michelle will never have to testify in court or talk about their ordeal to anyone at any time unless they want to speak. At last, something good coming out of this nightmare.