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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio prison officials have placed two guards on leave during investigations into the suicide of Cleveland kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro.

Prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith says the two guards were on duty in the prison unit where Castro hanged himself.

Smith said Tuesday the two are on paid administrative leave until internal investigations by the department and a criminal investigation by the state highway patrol are completed.

Smith says guards Caleb Ackley and Ryan Murphy both joined the agency in 2007 and neither has ever been disciplined.

Tim Shafer, a union official, says the two are being made scapegoats for Castro's suicide.

The 53-year-old Castro hanged himself with a bedsheet earlier this month, a few weeks into a life sentence for imprisoning three women in his home for a decade.

Published in National News

   COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio corrections officials say Ariel Castro who held three women captive in his home for nearly a decade has committed suicide at a state prison facility.

   Spokeswoman JoEllen Smith says 53 year old Castro was found hanging in his cell around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient. Prison medical staff performed CPR before Castro was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

   The three women disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old. They escaped May 6, when one of the women broke part of a door and yelled to neighbors for help. Castro was arrested that evening.

   Castro was sentenced Aug. 1 to life in prison plus 1,000 years on his guilty plea to 937 counts including kidnapping and rape.

 
Published in National News

CLEVELAND (AP) - She says she spent "11 years in hell" when she was held captive by Ariel Castro. But today, Michelle Knight smiled as Castro was led away to start serving a life sentence plus 1,000 years, for holding Knight and two other women in his home for years and raping them repeatedly.

 

   Knight earlier delivered a statement in which she said she now has her life back -- but that Castro's life is over.

 

   Castro also spoke at his sentencing hearing, apologizing to his victims in a rambling, defiant statement. He blamed a sex addiction, his former wife and even the FBI for not thoroughly investigating the abductions. And he claimed that most of the sex was consensual, and that the women were never tortured. Castro said, "I'm not a monster. I'm sick."

 

   The judge dismissed Castro's claim that the women had lived a happy life with him. The judge said, "I'm not sure there's anyone in America that would agree with you." He also told Castro that there's no place in the world for people who enslave others.

   Today's hearing gave prosecutors a chance to detail some of Castro's assaults. And authorities described the makeshift prison he built in his home -- even creating an alarm system, as he chained the women inside bolted bedrooms.

 
Published in National News

 CLEVELAND (AP) - Ariel Castro learns his sentence today after pleading guilty to 937 counts, including kidnapping, rape, assault and aggravated murder for holding three women captive in a run-down Cleveland home for a decade.

The prosecutor says one captive's diaries document the horrific physical and sexual abuse that Castro subjected the women to on a daily basis. Castro could get as much as life in prison plus 1,000 years.

 
Published in National News

CLEVELAND (AP) - A Cleveland man accused of holding three women captive in his home for about a decade has pleaded guilty in a deal to avoid the death penalty.

Ariel Castro entered the plea Friday. In exchange, prosecutors are recommending the 53-year-old Castro be sentenced to life without parole plus 1,000 years.

Castro says a pornography addiction and "sexual problem" have taken a toll on his mind. He also says he was sexually abused as a child.

He had been charged in a 977-count indictment. He is pleading guilty to 937 counts.

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. They escaped from Castro's house May 6.

Published in National News

 CLEVELAND (AP) - The Cleveland man accused of holding three women captive in his home for over a decade has pleaded not guilty to additional charges.

An expanded indictment charges Ariel Castro with 512 counts of kidnapping and 446 counts of rape, among other crimes.

Castro was arrested in May after the women escaped to freedom.

 
Published in National News

   On her first night at home in a decade, relatives of freed kidnapping victim Gina DeJesus huddled around her, sleeping on inflatable mattresses in their living room so the young woman would not have to sleep in an upstairs bedroom similar to the one where she spent much of her captivity, her mother told ABC News in an exclusive interview with David Muir.

   DeJesus, 23, was reunited with her family Wednesday after nearly 10 years spent as the alleged prisoner of Ariel Castro, a man her mother knew for years.

   For years after DeJesus' abduction, Castro, who grew up in the same community as the young woman's mother, Nancy Ruiz, would offer the family his support.

   As recently as last year, Castro, 52, asked Ruiz, "How are you doing?" never indicating he was allegedly keeping her daughter a captive in his Cleveland home just miles from where she lived.

   Ruiz said DeJesus told her that she and two other women, Amanda Berry, 27, and Michelle Knight, 30, were kept chained in the basement of the basement. Later on, they were allowed upstairs and kept in two separate bedrooms for much of the time.

   DeJesus and Knight were often kept in one bedroom. Berry and her daughter, 6, whom she gave birth to while in captivity, were held in a second room, Ruiz said.

   The young women were warned there was an alarm system and that it would go off if they tried to escape, Ruiz added.

   The women were freed on Monday, when Berry screamed for help from behind a locked door, alerting neighbors who helped kick down the door and called police.

   Ruiz said Castro would take Berry's daughters on outings to the park and to church, though the women were never permitted to leave the property themselves.

   Berry's litte girl was never told the real names of the other women in the house because of fears she might reveal those names in public and get Castro in trouble, Ruiz said.

   Castro would bring the women food, which they would cook. Sometimes he would bring them McDonald's food.

   He bought the young women clothes from a local store, Ruiz said, and DeJesus would use the fabric from the clothes to make new outfits, once changing a skirt into a pair of capri pants.

   Castro was arraigned today in an Ohio court on charges of kidnapping and rape. Bond was set at $8 million. He did not enter a plea.

Published in National News

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