Ariel Castro, convicted in August of kidnapping and repeatedly raping Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus, was found dead in his cell on Tuesday night. He was found at about 9:20 p.m local time, hanging in his cell. The reports cite confirmation from Ohio Rehabilitation and Correction officials.
BREAKING: Cleveland Kidnapper Ariel Castro found hanging inside his jail cell. Dead.— Jeff Rossen (@jeffrossen) September 4, 2013
Castro, 53, was held in protective custody from the general prison population because of his high profile. According to prison officials, Castro would have been checked by prison guards every 30 minutes. He was serving a sentence for life in prison plus 1,000 years. In a statement to WOIO, JoEllen Smith of the Ohio Department of Corrections said the following:
Inmate Ariel Castro was found hanging in his cell this evening at 9:20 pm at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient. He was housed in protective custody which means he was in a cell by himself and rounds are required every 30 minutes at staggered intervals. Upon finding inmate Castro, prison medical staff began performing life saving measures. Shortly after he was transported to OSUMC where he was pronounced dead at 10:52 pm. A thorough review of this incident is underway and more information can be provided as it becomes available pending the status of the investigation.
Castro, before beginning his life sentence, insisted he did nothing wrong. He kidnapped three young women, two of them teenagers, between the years 2004 and 2006, and kept them imprisoned in his house for over a decade. Castro was confronted by one of his victims, Michelle Knight, during the sentencing hearing. Knight was held captive by Castro the longest. Knight told Castro that he didn't deserve the death penalty, adding, "You took 11 years of my life away... I spent a 11 years in hell. Your hell is just beginning."