Ariel Castro, the 53-year-old man who kidnapped three young women, Amanda Berry (27), Gina Dejesus (23) and Michelle Knight (32) was found dead in his prison cell in the Correction Reception Center in Orient, Ohio. His death is being reported as a hanging suicide. Immediately, my heart fell. My emotions were a mix of, “well damn,” to “what a coward!” The good people over at Jezebel struggled with their reactions to his death as well and elaborated on their range of emotions brilliantly. How is one supposed to feel when a monster dies?
Over the summer, one of the women, Amanda Berry (27) escaped by breaking part of a door and yelled to the neighbors for help, and the now-infamous Charles Ramsey came to her and Gina’s (23) and Michelle Knight’s (32) rescue. NewsOne is reporting, “Though fame knocked on his door, he said that he was just doing what anyone would do and doesn’t want recognition for his actions.” Ramsey claimed, “They keep saying I’m a hero. Let me tell you something, I’m an American, and I’m a human being. I’m just like you. I work for a living. There was a woman in distress, so why turn your back on that?”
After his arrest, Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts, including kidnapping, rape, assault and aggravated murder, in order to avoid the death penalty. He was also accused of aggravated murder of a fetus for forcibly causing one of the women to abort a baby he allegedly fathered. Castro fathered a six-year-old girl named Jocelyn with Amanda while she was help captive for 10 years.
Castro was sentenced to life in prison plus 1000 years for his crimes and because he chose to take his own life a month into his sentence, it hurts me that he took the cowardly way out. I want this man to suffer at least half as much as the three women who’s lives he’s changed! Castro wanted to avoid the death penalty, so he plead guilty. Part of me feels he didn’t even feel that guilt. How could a man who stole the lives of many innocent women and children know what guilt felt like?
It’s because of all these things that I am left wondering–is it still sad when a monster kills himself? These women spent most of their lives in a disgusting fear while Castro lived out a fantasy of having a a family that he created with his own hands. At one point, he feared death, choosing to spend the rest of his life in prison to avoid that final fate. But maybe that was a part of his sick plan to keep the control he’d grown fond of having in the time where he kept them women captive.
Erin Gloria Ryan of Jezebel said, “Ariel Castro has always had control and hanging himself with a bedsheet was him exercising his last semblance of control. It was a middle finger to his victims.” Truth. NBC News consulted a psychologist who said, “Going forward now these girls are going to have to find a way of healing without a sense of justice,” Dr. Linda Papadopoulos, a U.K.-based psychologist and author advised. “We want the sense of justice when we heal. Sometimes we have to heal without it, and sadly that is what they will have to do.”
I will never understand what these women went through, spending the most pivotal moments of their lives as prisoners. There’s no relief in knowing that Castro was off the streets and serving his time, but I did feel some satisfaction in knowing that his freedom was no more. There’s no way of knowing how Berry, Dejesus and Knight feel, but Castro’s cowardly death at his own hands is not sad, nor will it ever be…for me.
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