Life plus 1,000 years for kidnapper
The American man convicted of holding three women captive in his house over a decade and raping them repeatedly has been jailed for life without parole plus 1,000 years.
Ariel Castro, 53, of Cleveland, Ohio, was sentenced on Thursday after pleading guilty to 937 counts including aggravated murder, kidnapping, rape and assault.
The former school bus driver got the life term for the most serious count and was given the additional time for the hundreds of other counts. A plea deal struck last week spared him from a possible death sentence for beating and starving a pregnant victim until she miscarried.
Castro apologised and told the court he was addicted to pornography, but he claimed that most of the sex with the women was consensual. He said: "These people are trying to paint me as a monster. I'm not a monster. I'm sick."
The women disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were aged 14, 16 and 20.
They escaped to freedom on May 6 when one of them, Amanda Berry, broke out part of the door to Castro's house and yelled to neighbours for help.
FBI agent Andrew Burke told the court how Castro turned his house into a prison by creating a makeshift alarm system and chaining them inside bolted bedrooms.
Bedroom windows were boarded shut from the inside with heavy cupboard doors and doorknobs had been removed and replaced with multiple locks, he said. The house was divided in ways to make it more secure and to hide the existence of rooms, he said.
Mr Burke also testified that Castro would occasionally pay his victims after raping them. But he would then require them to pay him if they wanted something from the store.
A police officer who helped rescue the women said one was reluctant to come out of her room even when she saw the officers. They were scared even after they were taken out of the house and quickly began sharing details about the horrors they went through, saying that they had been starved and beaten. "They were just shouting out a lot of things," said Cleveland police officer Barb Johnson. She described the women as thin, pale and scared.