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Judge accepts plea agreement in case of Ariel Castro

by | Jul 26, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

Ariel Castro

Ariel Castro

Facing the prospect of a possible death sentence, Ariel Castro reached a plea agreement with prosecutors this morning in which Castro will be sentenced to life without parole plus 1,000 years. Now that the judge has accepted the agreement, Castro will be sentenced August 1.

Castro had twice pleaded not guilty, the second time to “977 counts, including aggravated murder on suspicion of ending the pregnancy of one of his alleged captives,” according to CNN. “Under the deal, he agreed to plead guilty to 937 counts.” He had been scheduled to go to trial August 5.

Castro faced aggravated murder charges under a fetal homicide law, for allegedly forcing Knight to miscarry. “Knight was pregnant at least three times from September 2002 to December 2003,” Reuters reported. Aggravated murder charges qualify for the death penalty and Castro’s attorneys had previously said they wanted a deal that would rule out capital punishment.

Between 2002 and 2004 Castro separately abducted Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Georgina DeJesus, according to authorities.

Last May the three women and Berry’s 6-year-old daughter were freed when a neighbor heard one of the women shouting for help while Castro was away. DNA tests subsequently proved that Castro was the girl’s father.

In June a statement was issued on behalf of the women which said they were “hopeful for a just and prompt resolution” and had “great faith in the prosecutor’s office and the court.” The plea agreement means they will not have to testify about their horrific ordeals.

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