Demolition of Ariel Castro’s residence began 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, the location where three women were held captive for 11 years of their young lives. As the mechanical excavator tore through the Soulless building, Castro’s wicked world was flattened, ending a horrifying chapter in the lives of his victims. Michelle Knight, one of the former hostages, attended the event clutching a set of yellow balloons. She dispensed the helium balloons to the amassing crowds, which were later released into the skies, to commemorate other missing children.
Prior to the ceremonial proceedings, Mr. Castro’s friends and family relatives removed personal belongings from the house, ransacked following the police investigation. Musical instruments, photographs and other paraphernalia were all said to have been acquired during the removal process.
Castro, aged 53, submitted a guilty plea over an abundance of criminal charges, totaling an astonishing 937 violations, comprising aggravated murder, following a forced miscarriage, kidnapping and rape. Last week, Castro was then sentenced to a life imprisonment (plus a 1,000 years), narrowly escaping the death penalty. As part of a plea bargain, the 53 year old man agreed to a life sentence without the opportunity for parole appeal, and was forbidden future interaction with his daughter, aged 6, who he had fathered with one of his other victims, Amanda Berry. Another caveat to the deal involved the destruction of his property, on Seymour Avenue, to which he also agreed.
The former school bus driver and musician, Aerial Castro, lured his victims into his wicked, depraved world under false pretences. Castro would offer the young children rides in his vehicle and then lied about the contents of his home. A police detective testified, during sentencing, explaining how all three children were tricked in a cold and calculated manner; Amanda Berry (abducted 2003) was invited into the home to play with Castro’s daughter, he requested Gina DeJesus (abducted 2004) aid him in moving a stereo speaker and promised Michelle Knight a puppy (abducted 2002).
In response to the unrelenting wave of contempt, expressed by the public over the case, Castro defended his character:
“I know what I did was wrong, but I am not a violent person.” Castro seemed to attempt to play down his crimes, when queried. “I simply kept them there without them being able to leave.”
In his plight to seek sympathy, Castro maintained that he was “… not a monster,” and was simply afflicted with a sickness. He then attempted to compare his apparent condition to alcohol abuses: “I have an addiction. Just like an alcoholic has an addiction.”
According to Fox News, F.B.I. agent Andrew Burke completely refitted his home to conceal his activities and prevent the escape of his kidnapped victims. The rear entrance was fitted with an alarm system to provide notification of potential intrusion and a porch swing was utilized to obstruct entry or exit of the rooms to the young girls. In addition, windows were boarded shut and door handles had been removed and substituted with an intricate series of locks in a bid to control the women’s activities.
Now that the house has been demolished, Michelle Knight offered her words of inspiration to attending reporters, telling the world and the mothers of abductees that they “…can have strength, they can have hope. And their children will come back.”
One can only hope this is the start of the healing process and, now that Ariel Castro’s wicked world has crumbled into dust and debris, these girls can also escape the prison of their minds.
By: James Fenner