Michelle Knight's Courtroom Victim Statement Is Powerful, Brave

Image: Michelle Knight's Courtroom Victim Statement Is Powerful, Brave

Friday, 02 Aug 2013 07:35 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Michelle Knight, one of the women Ariel Castro held captive for more than a decade in his Cleveland basement, delivered a powerful victim's statement during Castro's sentencing hearing Thursday.

"The years turned into eternity," Knight said of the mental and physical abuse she endured in Castro's home, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I knew nobody cared about me. He told me my family didn’t care. Christmas was the most traumatic day because I never got to spend it with my son."

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Speaking only feet away from Castro, Inside Edition called Knight's testimony "an extraordinary profile in courage."

"You took 11 years of my life away," Knight said. "I spent 11 years in hell, now your hell is just beginning I will overcome all this that has happened, but you will face hell for eternity. I will live on; you will die a little every day as you think of the 11 years of atrocities that you inflicted on us."

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Michael Russo sentenced Castro, 53, to life in prison without parole plus an additional 1,000 years. He pleaded guilty last week to hundreds of counts of rape and kidnapping, as well as to two counts of aggravated murder. Castro admitted he kidnapped Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus and repeatedly sexually assaulted them for at least 10 years.

Fighting back tears, Knight said her friendship with DeJesus was the only good thing to come from the ordeal.

Knight's words overshadowed Castro's rambling statement before his sentencing. Castro said there was "harmony" in the house, claiming that the sex between him and his victims were consensual and that he never beat them.

"These people are trying to paint me as a monster," Castro told the judge before sentencing. "I'm not a monster. I'm sick. My sexual problem, it's so bad on my mind. God as my witness, I never beat these women like they're trying to say that I did. I never tortured them."

Russo thanked Knight for her "remarkable restraint" during Castro's statement.

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