Ohio abductions: Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro found hanged in prison cell
Lawyer blames jail for not taking precautions after he was taken off suicide watch in June
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Wednesday 04 September 2013
Ariel Castro, the Ohio man sentenced to life plus 1,000 years for the kidnap and rape of three women, whom he kept captive at his Cleveland home for a decade, has committed suicide after one month in prison.
The Franklin County Coroner’s Office said that Castro, 53, had hanged himself with a bed sheet. He was found in his cell at 9.20pm as prison staff made their rounds at the Correctional Reception Centre outside Columbus, the state capital, where he had been since 5 August.
Prison medical staff tried to resuscitate him before he was taken to the Ohio State University Medical Centre, where he was pronounced dead shortly before 11pm. His cousin, Maria Castro-Montes, told CNN that she cried when she heard the news. “It was just shock and part of it was even relief in hopes that now this will just end all of it,” she said. “I just hope the victims can move past this now.”
Castro’s lawyer, Craig Weintraub, said he was “stunned” to hear of his client’s death, and that more precautions ought to have been taken to prevent a suicide attempt.
When he was jailed, Castro was put on suicide watch and checked by staff every 10 minutes. This ended in June, though he was still monitored every 30 minutes. The Ohio Department of Corrections is expected to conduct an investigation to determine whether anything further could have been done to prevent Castro’s suicide.
Mr Weintraub said he had recently been denied a request to have his client evaluated by a psychologist. Some will welcome Castro’s death, he said, as “a happy ending to this story… But we’re in a civilised society and no one should really be celebrating this.”
In July, Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts including aggravated murder, apparently so that he could avoid the death penalty.
Between 2002 and 2004, he snatched three young women – Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus – from the streets of Cleveland and imprisoned them at his home, where he repeatedly raped and assaulted them.
He is believed to have starved and beaten Ms Knight to induce miscarriages after she became pregnant several times. He also fathered a daughter, now six years old, with Ms Berry. The girl escaped with her mother and the other two women in May, after Ms Berry’s cries for help were heard by neighbours while Castro was out.
After Castro’s arrest, the house was searched and an apparent suicide note written by Castro in 2004 was found. Tim McGinty, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor, said he believed the note was simply a plea for sympathy.
The three women are aware of their former captor’s death, but will not be commenting. Jackie Figaro Roman, an aunt of Ms DeJesus, said the women were experiencing a “mixture of emotions”: “Gina is a little confused. But [they] won’t have to think about him because he’s not around any more.”
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 4 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
UK weather: Warning for more snow and ice as freezing temperatures and gales hit Britain
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations
AirAsia flight QZ8501 missing: Search for plane carrying 162 passengers from Indonesia to Singapore suspended overnight
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...
£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have previous experience...