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Man who spent part of life in Reading given life in prison

By Jennifer Joas, Reporter, JJoas@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 31 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 01 2013 05:35:18 PM CDT

Ariel Castro, who lived the early part of his life in Reading, will spend what's left of his life behind bars with no chance for parole.

CLEVELAND -

It was judgment day for Ariel Castro. A judge sentenced the Cleveland kidnapper to life in prison and then some Thursday.

Castro grew up at a home in the 400 block of North 2nd Street in Reading. As the victims testified at Castro's sentencing hearing, they not only had a message for him but for his family.

"I cried every night. I was so alone. I worried about what would happen to me and the other girls every day," said victim Michelle Knight, who was kidnapped from her Ohio neighborhood, beaten, raped and starved for more than a decade.

Knight stood boldly in the courtroom, confronting her captor.

"I spent 11 years in hell, and now your hell is just beginning. I will overcome all of this that happened," said Knight.

Castro pleaded guilty last week to 937 counts, including murder and kidnapping. On Thursday, he apologized to his victims in court.

"I would like to apologize to the victims, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. I am truly sorry for what happened. To this day, I am trying to answer my own questions. I just hope they can find it in their hearts to forgive me," Castro said.

Castro said he is sick and addicted to pornography, and he told the court that he is not a monster. In addition to the testimony directed toward Castro, Gina DeJesus's family had a message for his family.

"To the Castro family: We are saddened that you are burdened with this horror and will unfortunately forever be tied to these atrocities. Please know that we do not hold you accountable and pray that you can one day be whole again," said Gina DeJesus's relative, Sylvia Colon.

Castro was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years for kidnapping and holding the women hostage.