VIDEO: ‘Your hell is just beginning,’ Cleveland kidnap victim Michelle Knight tells Ariel Castro

For the first time since she was rescued from captivity with two other women in May, 32-year-old Michelle Knight faced her captor and rapist in court as he was sentenced to serve the rest of his life behind bars.

Knight addressed Castro in a Cleveland courtroom, saying, “You took 11 years of my life away and now I’ve got it back. I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning.”

Initially faltering but regaining her composure, she had a strong message for the man who abducted and raped her for more than a decade.

“I will overcome all of this that happened,” she said. “But you will face hell for eternity. I will live on. You will die a little every day. I can forgive you, but I will never forget.”

Knight and two of Castro’s other victims, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, have mostly kept out of the public eye since their May 6 rescue from the house where they had been held for more than 10 years. In July, the three women released a video statement thanking the people of Cleveland for their support and asking for privacy as they move on with their lives.

Castro accepted a plea deal a week earlier, the terms of which will require him to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 1,000 years. He agreed to the deal in return for prosecutors sparing him the possibility of the death penalty.

Knight spoke of her son, who was just 2-and-a-half years old when she was abducted by Castro.

“I missed my son every day,” she said in a prepared statement. “I cried every night. I was so alone.”

She went on, “The days never got shorter. The days turned into nights. The nights turned into days. Years turned into eternity. Nobody should ever have to go through what I went through. Or anyone else. Not even a worst enemy.”

Knight also spoke of the friendship she formed with DeJesus in captivity.

“My friendship with her was the only thing that was good out of this situation,” Knight said. “We said that someday we would make it out alive, and we did.”

Knight finished her statement by saying she wants to move forward by helping other victims.

“With the guidance of God, I will help others who have suffered at the hands of others,” she said. “I know there is a lot of people going through hard times, but we need to reach out a hand and hold them, and let them know they are being heard. After 11 years, I am finally being heard.”

Castro also addressed the court in a rambling statement saying, “I’m not a monster.”

He spoke about the accusations of domestic abuse by his ex-wife, saying, “I couldn’t get her to quiet down.” 

Castro then went on to take the court, in disturbing detail, through the time period of his life before abducting the three young women.

“I was single for about five years. In that time, I continued to practice the art of masturbation … sometimes two to three hours a day nonstop,” he said.

He added, “I know it’s 100 percent wrong, but they are trying to say that I am a violent person. I’m not a violent person. … I am a moral person. I am just sick.”

He spoke about each victim and their families, saying about Knight, “I haven’t seen her much … because from day one, nobody missed her.”

As he addressed the court, Castro also said most of the sex he had with his victims was consensual: “Practically all of it was consensual. These girls were not virgins. They had multiple partners before me — all three of them.”

He said he was a good and loving father to the daughter he fathered with Amanda Berry while she was in captivity.

“She would probably say, ‘My dad is the best dad in the world,’” Castro said of his daughter. “She had a normal life.”

“Finally, I would like to apologize to the victims. I am truly sorry for what happened. To this day I am trying to answer my own questions, because we had a lot of harmony in that house,” he said, choking back tears. “I had everything going on for me. I have a good history of working and providing. … I just hope they find it in their hearts to forgive me.”

A model of the home of Ariel Castro is displayed in the court room during the sentencing of Castro on charges including rape, kidnapping and murder in Cleveland, Ohio. Credit: Reuters
A model of the home of Ariel Castro is displayed in the court room during the sentencing of Castro on charges including rape, kidnapping and murder in Cleveland.
Credit: Reuters

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Local

Bushwick community space offers activists a place to…

A new Bushwick community space offers community activists to meet, create, learn and throw back a few cold ones. MayDay, located 214 Starr Street in Bushwick,…

Local

Activists gearing up for Sunday's "historic" People's Climate…

If all goes according to plan, more than 100,000 people will gather near Central Park West on Sunday morning and march through midtown to raise…

Movies

Kevin Smith makes peace with the Internet

I was thinking about Ain't It Cool News and Harry Knowles last night, wondering if anyone from Ain't It Cool had reviewed my new movie…

Movies

Art imitates life in 'Swim Little Fish Swim'

There's a certain comfort to be taken in finding that young artists are still moving to New York and trying to make it — and…

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and a being called Emily get…

Esperanza Spalding is about to spiral off in a brand new direction that may or may include an alter ego named Emily.

NFL

Oday Aboushi ready for increased role, and to…

Oday Aboushi might feel comfortable enough to engage in some trash talk the next time he is on the field.

NFL

Giants vs. Texans: 3 things to watch

The Giants host the surprising Texans (2-0) in what may already be a must-win game for Big Blue.

NFL

Eric Decker misses practice again, could miss Monday

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker missed practice Thursday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday.

MLB

Derek Jeter still focused on baseball as final…

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…