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Ariel Castro sentenced to more than 1,000 years in prison

11:26 PM, Aug 1, 2013   |    comments
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Ariel Castro is shown in a Cuyahoga County Jail booking photo. (Photo: AP)

CLEVELAND -- Michelle Knight, 32, one of the women Ariel Castro held captive for more than a decade, hugged several people before approaching the judge.

Through tears, Knight faced her captor, recalling "Days never got shorter, days turned into nights, nights turned into days. Years turned into eternity. I knew nobody cared about me. He told me that my family didn't care. ... Nobody should ever have to go through what I went through."

Castro, 53, pleaded guilty to 937 charges last week, including aggravated murder, rape and kidnapping, to avoid the death penalty. Under terms of the plea deal, he'll get life imprisonment, plus 1,000 years, with no chance for parole. 

MORE | Police say Castro beat and starved Knight when she became pregnant, forcing her to miscarry five times. 

"You took 11 years of my life away and I have got it back," Knight said at his sentencing hearing in Cleveland. "I spent 11 years in hell, now your hell is just beginning. I will overcome all this that has happened but you will face hell for eternity. From this moment on, I will not let you define me or affect who I am. I will live on, you will die a little everyday." 

Knight spoke of the bond between her and the other women, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, who were held captive with her. 

"Gina was my teammate, she never let me fall, I never let her fall. She nursed me back to health when I was dying from his abuse," Knight said.

She also spoke about her son. "He was only 2 and half years old when I was taken. I see my son and cry every night. I was so alone. I worry about what happened to me and the other girls every day," she said.

"After 11 years, I'm finally being heard and it's liberating," Knight said.

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