UPDATE: 1:12 PM EST
Ariel Castro has just been sentenced to life without possibility of parole on aggravated murder charge.
Michelle Knight gave an emotional testimony in front of her captor, describing her imprisonment and her will to move on with her life.
“You took 11 years of my life away. … I spent 11 years in hell. Now, your hell is just beginning…I can forgive you, but I will never forget…I will live on. You will die a little every day.”
She also talked briefly about her relationship with the girls, telling the court that she thought about what would happen to them every day. She mentioned that Gina DeJesus, one of the three women chained in the house of horrors, took care of her while they were held captive.
“Gina was my teammate, she never let me fall, I never let her fall. She nursed me back to health.”
Watch her entire statement here:
Shortly after she spoke, Castro addressed the court himself, giving his first statement since Amanda Berry, DeJesus and Knight were rescued from his Ohio home.
“I’m a very emotional person,” Castro started. “I’m going to try to get through this. I’m not a monster. I’m sick.”
Among the shocking comments he made during his statement, Castro claimed that most of the sex that went on in the house was consensual. He even noted, as a way of justifying the sex, that at the time of capture, not one of the girls was a virgin.
“There were times they would ask me for sex.”
He also told the court, as Knight listened just feet away, that the rape and beating allegations are also not true. Castro said that despite his porn, sex and masturbation addiction, he was not a violent person and tried to make life as normal as possible.
In the end he apologized to the victims, but not before stating that the FBI failed them because they didn’t question him initially. They did, however, question his daughter, who was a friend of DeJesus’.
Watch his entire statement here:
Earlier that day, the court released photographs of Castro’s home, including pictures of the chains he used to tie the women up, the wigs he would make them wear on the rare occasion they were allowed out of the home, and a pole in the basement the girls were confined to.
It was also revealed that in addition to Castro attending the neighborhood vigils for the girls, he would make them watch the vigils on television. The girls were forced to play Russian Roulette when Castro put a gun to their head and after sex, he would often throw money at them. He reconfigured his entire home to keep their whereabouts a secret.
See the photos below:
As the sentencing hearing is still in session, this story is developing.
SOURCE: CNN | Court Hearing
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