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washington post

Ariel Castro found dead in prison,

a month into life term for kidnapping 3 Cleveland women - By Max Ehrenfreund - The Washington Post


Ariel Castro was found dead in his cell in Ohio on Tuesday night. He had just begun serving a life sentence in the case of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, the three women whom he had pleaded guilty to holding captive in horrifying conditions in his Cleveland house and raping repeatedly over a decade. Authorities said Castro hanged himself:

Ariel Castro, 53, was found hanging in his cell around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, located south of Columbus in central Ohio, JoEllen Smith, Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman, said early Wednesday. Prison medical staff performed CPR before Castro was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead around 10:50 p.m.

Castro was in protective custody because of the notoriety of his case, meaning he was checked every 30 minutes, but was not on suicide watch, Smith said. She said suicide watch entails constant observation.

An autopsy early Wednesday showed the death was a suicide, and the cause of death was hanging, said Dr. Jan Gorniak, the Franklin County coroner. She said toxicology tests still would be completed in the coming weeks.

Gorniak said she couldn’t comment on the circumstances in which Castro was found.

In Castro’s old Cleveland neighborhood, Jessica Burchett, 19, said his death had short-circuited the life term called for in his plea deal.

“It does give a little bit of closure to the families and people that got affected by what he did, but at the same time he deserved to be in there for his life because of what he did to those girls,” she said.

-- Associated Press
Castro had previously been on suicide watch in jail before his guilty plea, but was removed, as officials believed he was unlikely to commit suicide.

Castro kidnapped Berry, DeJesus and Knight separately in the same neighborhood between 2002 and 2004. He fathered a child with Berry several years ago, and impregnated Knight five times but...

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