Investigations

Ariel Castro Dead, Found Hanged in Prison Cell

Prison officials say the Cleveland kidnapper and rapist committed suicide.

Photo Credit: CPD

Ariel Castro, sentenced last month to life plus 1,000 years for kidnapping and raping three women for almost a decade, has been found dead in his prison cell, CNN reported.

The state’s Department of Corrections said authorities found Castro hanging in his cell around 9.20pm on Tuesday night where he was then taken to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Centre and pronounced dead.

According to the Coroner’s office, the cause of death was hanging with a bed sheet.  

Castro was not part of the general prison population and was housed in protective custody instead.  His attorney, Craig Weintraub, said it was unusual for a prisoner in the system for only 30 days to be found dead in his cell and that more precautions against a possible suicide should have been taken.

The three victims held captive by Castro, Amanda Berry, now 27; Gina DeJesus, 23; and Michelle Knight, 32, have been notified of his death but have not issued any public statement.  The women escaped Castro's "house of horrors" on May 6 when Berry managed to open part of the front door and call out to a neighbor for help. 

Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts including murder and kidnapping in exchange for avoiding the death penalty on August 1.

At his hearing, Castro had played the victim saying he was addicted to porn and masturbation:

“I am not a monster. I am a normal person. I am just sick. I have an addiction just like an alcoholic has an addiction,” he said.

Family member, Maria Castro-Montes told CNN that everyone in the family had cut ties with Castro and hoped that with his death the tragic story could finally come to an end:

"It was just shock and part of it was even relief in hopes that now this will just end all of it and that his name will not be out in the spotlight for years and years to come … I just hope the victims can move past this now,” she told CNN.

Following the news, Rawstory reported that numerous merciless blogs surfaced in the local newspaper:

“Adios diablo, may you burn for 1,000 years, just like you were sentenced,” one said.  Another: “Why no picture of him hanging? Now THAT would be justice,” asked another.

Read more at CNN.

 

 

Jodie Gummow is a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet.