A Cleveland man accused of holding three women captive in his home for about a decade has agreed to plead guilty in a deal to avoid the death penalty.
Ariel Castro is entering the plea Friday. In exchange, prosecutors said the 53-year-old Castro would be sentenced to life without parole plus 1,000 years.
Castro had been charged in a 977-count indictment.
He had been scheduled for trial Aug. 5 on allegations that include repeatedly restraining the women and punching and starving one woman until she had a miscarriage.
The women disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old. Each said they had accepted a ride from Castro.
They escaped Castro's house May 6 when one kicked out part of a door and called to neighbors for help. Castro was arrested within hours and has remained behind bars.
A statement released Friday by a law firm representing the women says they are satisfied by the resolution and looking forward to the end of the legal end of the case.
Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight are continuing to ask for privacy and say they don't want to speak publicly.
People in the neighborhood where Castro held his captives over all of those years told 10TV about their reaction to the plea deal on Friday.
Castro's home is still boarded up and fenced in, but that will change soon. A city councilman said there are plans to demolish it.
The people who live next door say they are glad that Castro will never be back.
"I'm happy because I feel like he should have never got out. He held those girls captive, so he should be in the same position," said De'Andrea Harris.
There's almost a sense of relief on Seymour Avenue.
Another neighbor said she fears she almost ended up in Castro's captivity, much like the three women.
Inett Perez has lived her most of her life.
"It's very touching because they were right next to me all that time, and I could not help them," said Perez.
A tearful Perez said Castro tried to lure her when she was young. She's happy about the plea deal.
"I'm glad that they did not give him the death penalty, because I believe he should live in in a confined space as jail. It still wouldn't give those girls enough justice because of all that they did have to live in there for those 10 years. He will never have to suffer what they did suffer, but at least he'll have every day to remember it," said Perez.
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