Castro described himself as a sick person struggling with a sexual addiction, but he insisted that he was not abusive by nature.
“I know what I did was wrong, but I am not a violent person,” said the former school bus driver and musician, who pleaded guilty to 937 felony counts including rape, assault and kidnapping.
Of his three captives, who were repeatedly bound, beaten and raped over the course of a decade and were repeatedly deprived of food as well as their freedom, Castro said: “I simply kept them there without them being able to leave.”
Castro lured each of his victims to his home by offering them rides and then lying to them about what was inside his residence, a police detective testified at the sentencing hearing. He offered Knight a puppy, told Amanda Berry that she could visit his daughter, whom Berry knew, and asked Gina DeJesus for help moving a stereo speaker.
Each of the women told police that they trusted Castro, in part, because they knew at least one of his teenage or young adult children.
Within minutes of getting each woman inside the house, Detective Andrew Harasimchuk said, Castro tied them up and raped them. It was an immediate and horrific beginning to a decade of physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
During her captivity, Berry became pregnant by Castro and gave birth to a child, who is now 6 years old. Knight has told authorities that Castro impregnated her multiple times as well, and then starved, beat and mistreated her until she miscarried.
“You took 11 years of my life away, and I have got it back,” said Knight, the only one of the three victims to testify in court. “I will live on; you will die a little every day.”
[WATCH: Michelle Knight’s statement in court]
As part of his plea deal, Castro, 53, received a sentence of life with no chance of parole for aggravated murder on a charge of forced miscarriage. He also received 1,000 years for the kidnapping, rape, assault and other charges.
He was ordered to have no contact with his any of his victims, including his 6-year-old daughter.
Castro repeatedly apologized to Knight, Berry and DeJesus at the sentencing hearing. But in a rambling, 20-minute statement, he also disputed that he had been violent, saying there was “harmony” in his house, and insisting that he was a good father to the little girl he fathered with Berry.
“I am not a monster. I am a normal person. I am just sick,” Castro said. “I have an addiction. Just like an alcoholic has an addiction.”
At different times, he appeared to blame the FBI and the women themselves for various aspects of their long captivity. He said he did not plan to abduct Knight when he overheard her asking for directions in a dollar store, but he did so on impulse, driven by his aberrant sexual urges.