A man who kidnapped and held captive in his Cleveland home dungeon three women for more than a decade tried to play the victim at his sentencing hearing, saying he is not a monster but suffers from a sexual addiction.
Ariel Castro, 52, appeared before Cuyahoga County Court to be sentenced after he pleaded guilty to 937 charges, including murder, rape, kidnap and assault.
"I'm not a violent person," Castro told the court "I' m not a monster."
"I have an addiction just like an alcoholic."
Castro kidnapped Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32, between 2002 and 2004, when they were teenagers, and locked them up in his home-dungeon at 2207 Seymour Avenue until they managed to escape earlier this year.
Knight and relatives of Berry and DeJesus were in court, as Castro claimed it was them who asked him for sex at times and that his victims were "not virgins" but had "many partners" before him.
"There was harmony at home. I was a good person being brought up," Castro said. "I never tortured them."
Castro claimed that the victims look now "normal" and "happy" because he treated them well.
Judge Michael Russo said Castro's crimes qualify him as a "Sexually violent predator."
Castro justified his criminal behaviour saying he was himself a victim of abuses as a child.
"I was a victim of sex acts when I was a child. This led me into viewing pornography for my whole life," he said.
"Eventually, after I held jobs because I always worked, what I'm trying to get at is people are trying to paint me as a monster and I'm not a monster. I'm sick. my sexual problems have been so bad all my life that I'm impulsive."
He said kidnapping was not in his character.
"When I picked up the first victim, I didn't even plan it that day," Castro said. "I'm not trying to make excuses here. I know I'm 100% wrong," he added.
"You have extreme narcissism," Judge Russo told him.
The three women suffered prolonged sexual and psychological abuse. He deprived them of food at times and forced Knight into violent miscarriages, for which Castro pleaded guilty to aggravated murder charges.
He has also been accused of holding captive a six-year-old girl whom he fathered with Berry.
Castro finally apologised to his victims, the judge and the state of Ohio.
"I just hope they find it in their hearts to forgive me," he said.
Castro, agreed to a plea deal last week, which spared him a death sentence. He is to serve life in prison without parole, plus 1,000 years.