By Robert Singer
Breaking News: August 1, 2013, Ariel Castro, the man accused of holding three women captive for a decade, has agreed to life in a real prison plus 1,000 years, so he can avoid the death penalty.
Castro, who according to detailed secret chronicled diaries by all three women, attended church on Sunday before coming home to rape, beat and torture his victims, who were shackled to walls bound with duct tape or an extension cord and chained to a pole in the basement of Castro’s ram shackled house. At times he tortured them by subjecting them to the “cold of his basement” or the “heat of his attic.”
At Castro’s sentencing hearing, his final court appearance, the diaries documenting their ordeal— that had been kept secret from Castro [and the judge]— are now introduced into evidence. Prosecutors, we are told, “relied on the diaries for many of the 977 criminal charges lodged against Castro.” Huh? “Relied on the diaries at the sentencing hearing?” A little unusual, I think you will agree.
According to a sentencing memorandum, “The entries speak of forced sexual conduct, of being locked in a dark room, of anticipating the next session of abuse, of the dreams of someday escaping and being reunited with family, of being chained to a wall and of being held like a prisoner of war.” Amanda Berry somehow found out her mother died during her captivity because her diary is addressed to “ her mother in heaven.”
Putting aside how she found out her mother died, how can you write and keep a diary secret, for ten years, when you were chained up and/or shackled, during which time you are being “viciously beaten, repeatedly raped, and “treated like an animal in a dark room, anticipating the next session of abuse?”
Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight
Michele Knight, now 32, and the first of the three women to be kidnapped, was in a store asking for directions when Castro offered to give her a ride but then tricked her into coming to his house to pick out a puppy for her son, Joey, now living in foster care. In an ironic twist, Knight’s parents are the subject of a federal probe for cashing Michele’s Social Security checks while she was imprisoned all these years.
Amanda Berry, a day before her 17th birthday, thought she was getting a ride home after her shift at a Burger King was over.
Gina De Jesus, now 23, went home with him because he told her he needed help carrying a speaker to his car.
The three young girls disappeared and lived within blocks of one another in the same low-income neighborhood. They were kept locked up for 10 years in Castro’s house, also in the same neighborhood.
Castro’s son wrote a story about one of the girls and all of the girls were friends with one of Castro’s daughters by his first marriage. We aren’t told which one. One daughter, Emily, was convicted of slashing her 11-month-old daughter’s throat and sentenced to 25 years in prison. The other, Annie Gregg, never wants to see him again.
Castro is a sex addicted evil genius who avoided authorities for the last decade and only likes to rape and beat women when they are wearing a motorcycle helmet.
The three women were confined in 1,436 square feet of this clapboard house with one bathroom for 10 years. Castro wired up the place with alarm clocks “in a makeshift manner” to create an alarm system to turn the house into a makeshift prison.
The women were kept in two rooms behind doors and curtains that could be secured from the outside with a lock, and a circular hole cut towards the bottom of the door so the women wouldn’t suffocate. The windows were boarded up with very heavy closet doors on the inside and plastic bags on the outside.
Anyone who came to visit, like the police, his two daughters, or his brothers, were kept in the kitchen. No one was able to detect the three women and a six-year-old girl, because Castro cleverly blocked visibility to the rest of the house with curtains that he explained, “were installed as an energy saving device.” Apparently, the curtains also served to sound proof the house because neither the brothers, the daughters, nor the police ever heard the screams for help from the three women behind the curtains.
His daughter Annie, who knew her “daddy” as a “friendly, caring, doting man,” visited him at the House of Horrors, during the ten years the three women were kidnapped, held captive, raped and beaten. She wants to know “how could you be so good to us, but (allegedly) take young women, little girls, someone else’s babies, away from these families?”
My question for Annie is, “How could you” not know what was going on when you went visiting to his make-shift prison and didn’t think anything out of the ordinary was going on in her childhood torture chamber home? For example according to your CNN interview:
He would take forever to come to the door,” and “always had the house locked up tight.
Once inside, visits were fun and cordial. Gregg, her husband and Castro “ate, looked at photos and listened to music,” she said. “He appeared to be happy to see us and never rushed for us to leave.” But at times, he would disappear from dinner and give no explanation for his absence.
The music was usually turned up loud, but Gregg thought this to be fitting since Castro was a musician.
Once she asked if she could go upstairs to see her childhood bedroom. Castro coaxed her out of the idea, telling her, “Oh, honey, there’s so much junk up there. You don’t want to go up there,” she said.
The basement was always locked.
Castro and Amanda a Match made in Hell
DNA tests confirmed that the six-year-old, born four years after her mother’s captivity, is Castro’s daughter. Castro, we are told, loves his little girl “dearly” and the child, we are also told, misses her father.
Here are current pictures of the three women.
All three victims – Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus – appeared in a video in early July thanking the local community for its support
According to doctors, they are all in surprising excellent physical and mental health, considering they were only allowed outside the house twice during their capture and fed McDonalds once a day for the last 10 years.
The horrific experience of being repeatedly raped “vaginally, orally and anally wearing motorcycle helmets” without access to the one bathroom in the house [each of them had a plastic toilet that was rarely emptied] finally came to an end when one of the next door neighbors, after 10 years, finally heard one of the women screaming and asking for help to get out of the clap trap house.
Amanda Berry, dressed in pajamas and sandals, was having trouble kicking a hole big enough in the front door [or front screen door] for her and her daughter to escape through to freedom.
An image of the door is below.
The neighbor, Ramsey Clark, who lived across the street, helped Amanda and her daughter kick a big enough hole in the door. She then borrowed his cell phone and called 911, “Hello it’s me, help me, I’m Amanda Berry! ” One has to wonder why it took 10 years for anyone to hear the three women screaming to get out of their hell or why it took them so long to finally kick in the front door. One has to also wonder why none of the women never picked up the phone in the house to dial 911. Yes, the Castro home at 2207 Sycamore Street had a landline.
Anyway, Amanda then tells the 911 operator that, “I need police … I’ve been kidnapped and I’ve been missing for ten years and I’m here, I’m free now.” However, as implausible as it may seem, Amanda doesn’t go back in the house to tell Knight and De Jesus they can finally escape Castro’s makeshift prison. And even more beyond belief, is how effective Castro’s sound proof curtains were at separating the up from the downstairs of the 1,436 square feet House of Horrors.
The two women are upstairs, unbound, and don’t hear a thing until the police enter the house and make a lot noise walking upstairs. When Ms. Knight realizes it’s the police, she “literally launched herself” into an officer’s arms, and just kept repeating, ‘You saved us! You saved us!’”
Not according to Castro. After he was arrested, he declared his innocence of any criminal activity and tells the police he is not a violent person and objects to being painted as a monster because he is also a victim. Castro claimed he was “abused as a child and addicted to porn.” Now shackled himself, unshaven and wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, he accused the three women of lying about being raped and tortured. He tells the media that, “Most of the sex that went on in the house, and probably all of it, was consensual” [with or without the motorcycle helmet]. “As God is my witness, I never beat these women like they’re trying to say that I did. I never tortured them,” we all lived in “a lot of harmony.”
He is even upset with the FBI for not thoroughly investigating the abductions. Huh?
Of course, we may never know the real truth behind this made for TV drama because when he agreed to spend 1,000 years in prison the women won’t have to testify under oath about their ten-year-ordeal.
When Castro wasn’t raping the three women, he was playing the bass guitar at clubs, churches and cultural celebrations or attending barbecues at the neighbors on holidays.
I am trying to decide which part of this story is more unbelievable:
That these three women, after being kept locked up by a bus driver and erstwhile musician in a ram shackled, 1,436 square foot, one-bathroom house built in 1890, would not have escaped or committed suicide after 10 weeks, let alone 10 years of beatings, rape [forced oral anal and vaginal sex] and torture is unmitigated nonsense. However, what is even more difficult to believe is that any of the three of them would have asked for, let alone agreed to, consensual sex [with or without a helmet] with an overweight loser who fed them McDonald’s once a day for 10 years.
Is there any woman who could live through getting pregnant four times in 10 years, and each time aborted because she was either punched or kicked in the stomach, which caused her to fall down the stairs on her way to the kitchen to be starved or forced to eat rotten food?
The story might make a little more sense if the Castro brothers, who were arrested but later released, had been involved. Initially it was thought that all the Castro brothers forced the three women to have sex, resulting in up to five pregnancies and four abortions due to beating the women when they got pregnant, according to a report by Cleveland’s WKYC-TV.
I don’t know what was really going on during the 10 years these three women were missing, but I am pretty sure there is a third story.
Then we have to reconcile Castro’s criminal record and his repeated encounters with the Cleveland Police, who never heard the three women screaming when they were being raped and tortured during the 10 years.
Neighbors claim they called the cops on Castro for stealing a chain link fence and suspicious activity for years, only to have police ignore them.
The Cleveland Police Department itself disputes the claims, saying its records indicate officers had visited the Seymour Avenue residence only twice before this week: Once, to respond to a street fight that Ariel Castro, the lead kidnapping suspect, had called in himself, and once again to investigate allegations, later proven false, that Castro had briefly abducted a little boy when he was still employed as a bus driver in 2004. The police went to the house to investigate but the women inside weren’t screaming for help so they left.
Ask yourself this simple question. You kidnapped three women and are keeping them locked up in your ram shackled house with paper thin walls. Would you actually call the police and complain about a street fight in front of your house?
Castro does have a record of assault. His ex-wife, Grimilda Figueroa, who died last year, accused Castro of assault in 1989, 1993 and again in 2005, three years after he allegedly abducted his first victim Michelle Knight. Castro was “a monster,” according to Figueroa’s family members who spoke to ABC News last week on the condition of anonymity. Figueroa’s family members might just be a little prejudiced against their former son-in-law, when they tell reporters that Castro was arrested for “throwing his wife [their daughter] to the ground, hitting her about the head and face and kicking her body.”
Castro was arrested, but it appears Figueroa dropped the charges against him because the fight with Figueroa was about her refusal to testify against her then boyfriend Fernando Colon. Colon was convicted in 2004 of raping Castro’s two young daughters.
There are some who believe the House of Horrors nightmare might not have ended if Castro hadn’t lost his job as a bus driver last year.
First, he got a 60-day suspension for making a U-turn in rush-hour with his bus packed with students; and later, the neighbors complained that he used the school bus for personal use when he parked the bus in front of his house to unload bags-full of McDonald’s fast food.
The neighbors called the Police because they thought it was “unusual” that he needed so much food.
The Police showed up, but according to the record, they knocked on the door and when no one answered and/or they didn’t hear anyone screaming to be “freed” from captivity inside, they didn’t enter the home.
There were other calls about the unusual goings-on in the Castro house. Like the time the neighbors called the police because they saw a naked women being led on a leash in the yard, or a baby banging on one of the house’s windows as if it was trying to escape. According to neighbors, the police showed up, but when they knocked on the door and no one answered or screamed, “Let me out I am a sex slave,” they left.
While the three victims appear to be physically and mentally healthy after their freedom from the House of Horrors, adjusting to normal life is going to be difficult. “It’s going to be a long-term struggle,” said psychologist Rona Fields, who has treated torture victims.
Fields and Peter Suedfeld, a psychologist who specializes in adaptation to stressful environments, expect the trio will experience post-traumatic stress, self-esteem problems and difficulty making decisions. They also may have trouble reconnecting with family members they haven’t seen in years. “I would like to be able to say, ‘Oh, they are going to be fine. My advice would be to let them get used to things gradually.”
Amanda Berry didn’t heed their advice. Here she is making her first public appearance at a Music Festival. 
And finally, there’s a dog story sure to make you tear up. Ariel Castro owned at least three dogs [we are not told if they were indoor or outdoors dogs] that are now impounded and living in an animal shelter. While Amanda, Gina and Michele begin to enjoy their freedom and heal from their horrific ordeal, the dogs that were imprisoned with them are suffering in judicial limbo on a special FBI hold. However, there is hope for one of the dogs. The Cleveland police officer, who wished to remain unnamed, revealed that “one of the dogs and one of the victims bonded during their captivity.”
If you can figure out how a woman who is beaten, raped and tortured when she isn’t shackled to the wall can form a bond with one of Castro’s dogs, let me know.
Robert Singer writes about Secrets, Sentient Creatures and The Federal Reserve at The Peoples Voice and The Market Oracle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Yes this is related to all of my recent posts.
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 Over the weekend, Berry made her first public appearance since her escape this spring. At Cleveland’s annual RoverFest, WMMS radio host Shane “Rover” French told the crowd, “I want you to give this person a bigger round of applause and cheer than me, anyone on the show, any of the acts that are here. I’m going to bring out a family that you probably know.” And then, acknowledging her very recent past, he said, “I told her she had a little bit of time to make up on the partying, and you guys would help her out tonight.” Berry, surrounded by friends and family, came out waving and smiling, and later returned to dance on the stage when rapper Nelly called her back to dedicate a song to her. It was just one day after her accused captor Ariel Castro entered a guilty plea to 900 criminal counts, “including kidnapping, rape and attempted murder,” a plea that will carry a prison sentence of life without parole.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Rover had previously mentioned on his morning show that he’d hoped the three former abduction victims would come to the show and “enjoy themselves,” but he says he was surprised when Berry showed up. “She asked me, ‘If I go out there, will you if you go with me?’” he says. “I said, ‘Sure. We can bring your family and friends, too.’” Or, as Radar reported the story in a headline for the ages, “Amanda Berry Downed Strawberry Daiquiris & Danced During First Major Public Appearance Since Escape from House of Horrors.”
On CNN over the weekend, Nelly told Erin Burnett, “What stuck with me most was that she had a smile on her face. That’s one of the most impressive things to me, considering everything she had been through … I thought, wow, that was special.” But Burnett was too busy being amazed that “She looked totally normal.”
Burnett’s concerned astonishment was charitable compared to what the lowest form of opinion generators – Internet commenters – had to say about Berry’s newly reignited social life. “It’s just odd given the years of abuse she suffered. Normally she would not have that kind of trust or comfort. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t make sense,” wrote one concerned ABC News commenter, while another more bluntly decided, “It seems to me she was enjoying it and is gonna use her ordeal to cash in.” Many were concerned that she appeared with a man who stood behind her and warmly put his arm around her and kissed her neck while she was onstage. Or, as some of the ABC commenters decided, he was a “dirt bag hanging all over her,” who “groped” and “pawed” her. A CBS News commenter more generously decided she looked “pretty hot.” And 645 comments later on NBC, Berry had plenty of well-wishers but also comments about her eyebrow piercing, and how she doesn’t look like “a real victim….lol.” And of course, if you want to plumb the absolute bottom of the barrel, there’s YouTube, where Berry is being accused of “milking everything she’s getting.”
Taking a Closer Look at the Stories Ignored by the Mainstream Media