Pedro Castro, 54, and Onil Castro, 50, told CNN in a weekend interview released Monday that they were shocked to learn their 52-year-old brother Ariel Castro allegedly kidnapped and imprisoned three women for nearly a decade.
Castro provided shots of alcohol to his brothers and cooked for them at his home, the brothers said. But they never stayed for long and recalled loud music and a curtain separating the kitchen - the only room they said they visited - and the rest of the house.
The alleged kidnapper told his brothers that the curtain was there to save on electricity bills by keeping heat in the kitchen - an explanation they accepted as plausible.
"The reason why we would go in the kitchen, because he had alcohol. And he would take me in the kitchen, give me a shot," Pedro Castro said, adding that his brother sometimes cooked for him, "but I would eat out on the steps."
Onil Castro said, "the last time that I was in that house, it was in the kitchen."
The three brothers live in Cleveland, where they were arrested May 6 after 27-year-old Amanda Berry, kidnapped in 2003, and her 6-year-old daughter born in captivity, escaped Castro's home with the help of a neighbor. Also rescued from the home: 32-year-old Michelle Knight, missing since 2002, and 23-year-old Gina DeJesus, missing since 2004.
Three days after the initial arrests, police said they had no reason to believe the brothers participated in the alleged abductions, rapes, assaults and forced abortions that may earn Ariel Castro the death penalty.
Onil Castro told CNN he was in his brother's car when they were pulled over May 6 and said he initially thought they committed a traffic infraction. Now he thinks his brother may have wanted to be arrested.
"Maybe he wanted to get caught," Onil Castro reflected. "Maybe time was up. Maybe he was inside too much; he wanted to get caught. But if he did it that way, he shouldn't of went to mama's house and picked me up and put me in a car, if he knows that was going to happen."
The women told police they were frequently chained in the attic of Castro's house when guests came over. "He would bring the women upstairs to the attic, tie them up, and tape their mouths," Fox 8 Cleveland reported. Berry told police - who recorded her statements in a report published by WKYC-TV - that the house's "big inside door" was unlocked on the day she escaped.
Pedro Castro was woken up by police officers at his home the day the women escaped. "I was thinking because I had an open container warrant," he told CNN. "I thought they was taking me in because of that."
The men described their horror when being told of the three women during police interrogations. "My heart fell. I just dropped, not physically, but I just, I just hit the ground," Onil Castro said. "This has torn my heart apart. This has killed me. I am a walking corpse right now."
Both brothers say they had nothing to do with the alleged crimes, and fear always being eyed by the public as possible collaborators.
Pedro Castro said, "I can't go nowhere because they think I'm a monster, too, and I'm not. And it just keeps going over and over in my head that people are just thinking that I did this." His brother Onil said he also fears he will always be viewed with suspicion. Both men said they would have turned in their brother if they'd known about the women.
"The monster is a goner," Onil Castro told CNN. "I hope he rots in that jail. I don't even want them to take his life like that. I want him to suffer in that jail to the last extent. I don't care if they even feed him." The alleged kidnapper may face the death penalty if convicted of aggravated murder for inducing abortions. "I feel the same way," Pedro said, clarifying, "I loved him so much."