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Continued: Ariel Castro pleads guilty in kidnap case of 3 long-missing Ohio women to avoid death penalty

  • Article by: ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS , AP Legal Affairs Writer
  • Last update: July 26, 2013 - 6:30 PM

Residents of the street where Castro's boarded up house is surrounded by a tall chain-link security fence welcomed the guilty plea and the news that the house would likely be torn down within a month, possibly for a park.

"It's really horrifying to look at and for my kids to see," said De'Andrea Harris, who lives directly across the street with her two children. She said she had no idea anything was wrong in the house until the women were rescued.

"So I just can't wait until they tear the house down so everything can be over," she said.

Castro's uncle, Julio Castro, who has run a nearby corner store for 44 years, said the ordeal will be with the family the rest of their lives.

"He's getting what he deserves," Castro, 77, said. "Nobody has the right to incarcerate you for 10 years."

Another neighbor on the street where many residents are also from Puerto Rico, said Castro had seemed to be a good neighbor before the women escaped.

"We never, the neighborhood, realized that he had those gals there," Aurora Marti, 75, said in Spanish. "He would come out, greeted me, we would talk for a bit here or in front of the door, and that's it."

She said she knows Castro's mother, "and she's suffering a lot."

Castro had been scheduled for trial Aug. 5 on a 977-count indictment, but 40 counts were dropped as part of the plea deal. The indictment included two counts of aggravated murder related to accusations that he caused one woman's miscarriages. The former school bus driver also was charged with hundreds of counts of kidnapping and rape, plus assault and other counts.

The sticking point on a plea deal had been whether the prosecutor would rule out the death penalty.

Prosecutors will recommend at the sentencing hearing that Castro have no contact with the girl he fathered. McGinty said there's "zero chance" he'll ever be allowed to see the girl.

McGinty said the county will use more than $20,000 seized from Castro to tear down his house within a month, and two abandoned houses next door will be razed and a vacant lot acquired for a park.

The prosecutor rejected attempts by Castro to portray himself a victim of a sex addiction.

"He's a coward and he's nowhere near the truth," McGinty said. "He's in his own world and it's not a world of regret and remorse. He feels sorry for one person and one person only — himself."

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