Castro suicide brings little sympathy

Cleveland kidnapper kills self after month in prison.
Associated Press
Sep 5, 2013

 

Residents in the tough Cleveland neighborhood where three women were secretly imprisoned for a decade reacted with scorn and grim satisfaction Wednesday after Ariel Castro hanged himself in his cell barely a month into a life sentence.

Even the prosecutor joined in.

"This man couldn't take, for even a month, a small portion of what he had dished out for more than a decade," said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty.

Castro, 53, was found hanging from a bedsheet Tuesday night at the state prison in Orient, corrections spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said. Prison medical staff performed CPR before Castro was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The coroner's office said it was suicide.

"He took the coward's way out," said Elsie Cintron, who lived up the street from the former school bus driver. "We're sad to hear that he's dead, but at the same time, we're happy he's gone, and now we know he can't ask for an appeal or try for one if he's acting like he's crazy."

As the shocking news sank in, prison officials faced questions about how a high-profile inmate managed to commit suicide while in protective custody. Just a month ago, an Ohio death row inmate killed himself days before he was to be executed.

Ohio prisons director Gary Mohr announced a review of Castro's suicide and whether he had received proper medical and mental health care. State police are also investigating.

The announcement came after the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio called for a full investigation.

"As horrifying as Mr. Castro's crimes may be, the state has a responsibility to ensure his safety from himself and others," executive director Christine Link said.

Through a spokeswoman, Castro's three victims declined to comment.

Castro was sentenced Aug. 1 to life in prison plus 1,000 years after pleading guilty to 937 counts, including kidnapping and rape, in a deal to avoid the death penalty. At his sentencing, he told the judge: "I'm not a monster. I'm sick."

Castro had been in a cell by himself in protective custody, meaning he was checked every 30 minutes, because of fears his notoriety could lead to attacks from other inmates, authorities said.

He was not on a suicide watch, which entails constant supervision, Smith said. She would not say why.

Officials would not say whether he left a suicide note.

Castro had been on a suicide watch for a few weeks in the Cuyahoga County jail, before he pleaded guilty and was turned over to state authorities, and police said after his arrest that they had found a years-old note in which he talked about suicide. But authorities at the jail dropped the suicide watch in June after concluding he was unlikely to take his own life.

Castro's captives — Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight — disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20. They were rescued from Castro's run-down house May 6 after Berry broke through a screen door.

Elation over the women's rescue turned to shock as details emerged about their captivity. Castro fathered a child with Berry while she was being held. The girl was 6 when she was freed.

Investigators also disclosed that the women were bound with chains, repeatedly raped and deprived of food and bathroom facilities.

Knight told authorities that Castro impregnated her repeatedly and made her miscarry by starving her and punching her in the belly. Berry said she was forced to give birth in a plastic kiddie pool.

On Castro's old street Wednesday, freshly planted landscaping was in bloom on the site where his house stood before it was demolished by the city a month ago.

Castro "took the easy way out," said James King, who lives down the street. "He knew what he did was wrong, so he killed himself."

No one answered the door at the home of Castro's mother and brother.

Castro's lawyers tried unsuccessfully to have a psychological examination of Castro done in jail before he was turned over to state authorities, his attorney, Jaye Schlachet, said Wednesday. Schlachet would not comment further.

Michael Casey, director of the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy outside Chicago, said a notorious figure like Castro would have been more apt to be harmed by other inmates, citing the case of Jeffrey Dahmer, the Milwaukee cannibal who was beaten to death in prison in 1994.

He said that given the way Castro managed to hide his crimes for so long, he probably would have been able to conceal any suicidal tendencies from his jailers.

The prison where Castro hanged himself, a so-called reception center for newly arrived inmates, is crowded with nearly twice the 900 prisoners it was meant to hold, according to state figures.

Stress is high and assaults are up at the prison, said Tim Shafer, an official with the guards' union. But he said: "Just like out in the public, suicides happen, and you just can't prevent every one of them."

___

Associated Press writers Thomas J. Sheeran in Cleveland, Kantele Franko and Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus and Allen Breed in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.

___

Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.

 

Comments

he said she said

Waste of money to try and figure out why or how someone killed themselves. He took the coward's way out because guilt was eating him up.

Good riddance. Now if we could get all the lifers to do this....

Mum-of-One

If the State is found to have been negligent then compensation will have to be made, so really nothing has been saved yet until an investigation is completed.

Cowboy

See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya!

gramafun

Cowboy...,.This pretty well sums it all up. I wonder what the devil is thinking right now? "I don't want him either....now what am I going to do with him?"

Ohioan

he said she said...agree, just another misguided and over analyzed waste of time for authorities and prison officials who should focus on other living troublemakers in the prison system.

What is the point of the ACLU getting involved, any investigation results won't bring this monster back, just another no-life group of people trying to make waves, with useless conclusions.

I just hope those three women can sleep better at night now and have some degree of closure knowing this low-life won't ever hurt another human being ever again.

juzzmytake

This coward chose to kidnap those three women and keep them for over a decade, and HE chose to take his own life...because he is a COWARD. There is no one to blame but him. Now he answers to the highest judge. Done.

freethinker1

Agree with all of the above comments. There is no higher judge, unless you're talking about the state or federal Supreme Court. Deities/gods, ghosts and other supernatural beings do not exist, except in the minds of those who invented them.

Julie R.

I don't have any sympathy for him but I do for his mother.

red white and blue

↑hopefully clinton is next

coasterfan

Wow, what an ignorant comment.

I do understand your desperation, though. It's 2+ years before the 2016 election, and you already realize that the only way the GOP will win is if the leading Democratic candidates are dead.

OMGreally

ummm I don't think he was talking about who you think he was

Fromthe419

Thinking he was referring to Curtis, not Bill or Hillary.

arnmcrmn

leave it to coaster to say this guy made an idiotic comment and then proceed to make his own idiotic comment. priceless.

OMGreally

He is dead...I don't care if a guard was standing in the cell holding the other end of the bedsheet. He took the coward way out and couldnt deal with what he put the girls through. Any investigation into this is a total waste of time and money. He should have been hung on the street he lived on. Bye bye..enjoy whatever is after this life...

The Answer Person

We need to forgive Mr. Castro and pray for his soul in Heaven.

starryeyes83

Um.. I don't think he went North.

red white and blue

It is curtis coasterfan I would think nobody could forget that worthless human being!

West

Hey folks this is a no-brainer! It's obvious that he didn't commit suicide....okay. His brain is worth thousands of dollars on the black market to.....lets just say.....the world that involves Forensic Pathology.

be for real

If they want to kill themselves,then let them.More money saved.Instead of wasting tax dollars with apeals,and feeding them for years