The sentencing hearing for the Cleveland man responsible for the kidnapping and rape of three women for more than a decade has gotten underway.
Heavily shackled and wearing his orange jail jumpsuit, Ariel Castro was led into the courtroom at 9:23 a.m., according to information in USA Today. He's expected to give a statement explaining his life, which he said previously had been impacted by being sexually abused as a child and a long-time addiction to pornography.
"I want to apologize to the victims,'' Castro said at the outset.
His attorney, Craig Weintraub, said Castro has "significant undisclosed mental illness."
Castro, 53, pleaded guilty to 937 charges last week, including aggravated murder, rape and kidnapping, to avoid the death penalty conviction. Under terms of the plea deal, he'll get life imprisonment, plus 1,000 years, with no chance for parole.
Still, the sentencing hearing "is about making clear this man's acts had on his victims and this community,'' says Joseph Frolik, a spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's office.