Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus were in their early- to mid-teens when they were abducted. The first victim was Michelle Knight, who was 21 at the time of her abduction. Amanda Berry was the one who got the attention of a neighbor, Charles Ramsey, who helped to free her and the other girls from their decade of hell on May 6.
Ariel Castro's trial began in June and on August 1, he was sentenced.
What makes what Castro did so horrific -- and that, in no means, is meant to minimize the horrors these young woman suffered year after year -- was that he tried to continue his manipulation of the facts in the courtroom at his sentencing hearing. He was allowed to make a statement at that hearing. Just by the nature of what he said, one can tell he is, at the very least, in denial.
He had the unmitigated gall to portray himself as a victim by stating he was a "victim of sex acts as a child" (for which I've seen no proof), and that his accusers are "trying to paint [him] as a monster, and [he's] not a monster". He suggested he is a victim of his sexual addictions by stating, "My sexual problems are so bad...I'm impulsive." I know of stories of people who have had sexual addictions for several years and most do not hold young women hostage for a decade or so.
He had no problem laying blame at the feet of others, including his wife for calling him a wife-beater (even though he was known for abusing his wife multiple times and threatening others in the neighborhood) and others for calling him a "violent person", something he denied multiple times. He also had no problem being defiant about the outcome, claiming that Amanda Berry appearing on stage an outdoor concert and Gina DeJesus acting "normal" are certain signs that no abuse took place in that house of horrors. Not to mention blaming him was "uncalled for".
You could say that Mr. Castro was a bit of a historical revisionist (or outright liar) with the following claims": (a) "most of the sex that went on in that house, practically all of it, was consensual"; (b) "there were times when they even asked me for sex, many times"; (c) "We had a lot of harmony going on in that home"; and (d) "I never beat these women; I never tortured them."
Scorecard: A) "Consensual" does not mean "forced upon". B) I guess no one ever told him what "No!", "Don't!", and "Stop!" mean. C) 'The Brady Bunch' had a lot of harmony; he had captives and the girls had horror. D) Just shackling them to the wall is a form of torture, and violence was part of what he did them. Four out of four wrong.
And let's not forget his claim that masturbation is an "art", and his hope that the victims "can find it in their hearts to forgive [him]". Is your jaw on the floor yet?
Two of three victims, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus did not attend the sentencing hearing, having family members speak on their behalf. However, Michelle Knight, did appear. Ariel Castro had impregnated her several times -- I've read it was five times -- from which she gave birth to a girl. The other times, he repeatedly punched Knight in the stomach while she was pregnant in order to induce her body to abort the baby.
In a display of more courage that Ariel Castro could ever have and more courage than most survivors could muster, Michelle Knight stood up, faced the judge, her back to Castro, and spoke. In a fraction of the time he took, Michelle Knight brought the impact in her impact statement:
Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight's hell is finally over. I wish them well on their own road to recovery.