The son Ariel Castro, the Ohio man who held three women captive for years, said on Monday that he was happy his father has pleaded guilty in a deal that spared him the death penalty and spared his victims from repeated court appearances.
"In death penalty cases, you end up in court a lot and so they come back a lot more often," Anthony Castro said on Monday on NBC News' "Today" program. "I think this way is a lot better because he's sent himself away and he will be away for the rest of his life."
Former school bus driver Ariel Castro, 53, pleaded guilty last week in Cleveland to 937 charges, including kidnapping and repeatedly raping three young women he abducted between 2002 and 2004.
The women were chained and tied up for long periods and subjected to starvation, beatings and sexual assaults. On May 6, neighbors heard cries for help from Amanda Berry, 27, and helped her break open a door to Ariel Castro's house, where they also found Gina DeJesus, 23; Michelle Knight, 32, and Berry's 6-year-old daughter fathered by Ariel Castro.
Anthony Castro, 31, said he felt "overwhelming joy" when he first heard the women had been found and freed, but was horrified when he learned from Berry's 911 call that it was his father who had held them.
"I was shocked because of the magnitude of such a crime. I don't think I could imagine anyone doing that, let alone finding out it was my own flesh and blood, my father," Anthony Castro said.
He said his father was violent, "incredibly strict" and regularly beat him and his mother, Grimelda Figueroa, who was divorced from Ariel Castro and died last year.
Anthony Castro said he had visited his father's fortress-like home a few times in the last decade but had no idea the women were there and did not suspect anything was wrong. He stayed outside or entered through the back door and never went beyond the kitchen, he said.
Even when he lived there as a child, he said, the basement, attic and garage were locked, the windows were nailed shut and parts of the house were off-limits, he said.
Ariel Castro is to be sentenced on August 1 to life without parole, plus 1,000 years. His son said he will not visit him in prison and has nothing to say to him.
"He's been lying to his family for the past 10, 11 years at every possible turn," Anthony Castro said. "I have no trust in him. I can't see myself going to visit him and giving him the opportunity to face me and lie to me again."