In a lengthy hearing Thursday, an Ohio judge sentenced Ariel Castro to life in prison, plus 1,000 years without parole, saying a person "can only die in prison once."
Cuyahoga County Judge Michael Russo told Castro, who pleaded guilty to kidnapping and raping three women he held captive, that he is "too dangerous" and that he does not "deserve to be out in our community."
"There is no place in this city, there is no place in this country, there is no place in this world for those who enslave others," Russo said during the hearing.
Castro, a former bus driver, was arrested May 6 after police rescued three women he had kidnapped separately between 2002 and 2004. Prosecutors presented additional evidence at the hearing – including photos from inside Castro's home and diary entries from the women – that described how Castro raped, beat and starved them as he held them captive.
The diary entries said the women were sometimes chained to a wall and spoke of "being held like a prisoner of war ... of his threats to kill, of being treated like an animal, of continuous abuse, and of desiring freedom," NBC News reported.
Last week, Castro agreed to a plea deal that helped him avoid the death penalty. By pleading guilty to more than 900 charges, including counts of rape, kidnapping, assault and aggravated murder, 53 year-old Castro would receive life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Numerous witnesses testified at the hearing, including Michelle Knight, one of the women Castro kidnapped.
Knight stood at the front of the court as she tearfully recounted the details of her captivity, saying Castro told her that her family did not care about her and that the time she was missing felt like an "eternity."
"I spent 11 years in hell," Knight said. "Now your hell is just beginning."
Knight described Gina DeJesus, another one of the women Castro kidnapped, as her friend and "teammate" and said she helped save her when Castro forced her to miscarry.
"She never let me fall, I never let her fall," Knight said. "She nursed me back to health when I was dying from his abuse."
But on Thursday, Castro spoke in court for the first time to tell his side of the story, claiming that he never raped or beat the women and that he only pleaded guilty to those charges because he did not want to inflict further psychological damage on them.
"I am not a violent person. I know what I did is wrong, but I am not a violent person. I simply kept them there without them being able to leave," Castro said at the hearing. "As God is my witness, I never beat these women like they're trying to say I did. I never tortured them."
He claimed that he was "sick" and that he was addicted to pornography, but that he had consensual sex with the three women.
"These people are trying to paint me as a monster," Castro said. "I'm not a monster. I'm sick. My sexual problem, it's so bad on my mind."