The story of the kidnapped Cleveland girls has been one of the most horrific and shocking cases in recent memory.
Back in May, three women who had been missing for roughly 10 years, were rescued. It was discovered that they were being held captive by a man named Ariel Castro, who not only kidnapped them, but also raped and beat them.
On Thursday (Aug 1), at Castro’s sentencing, where he found out he would spend the rest of his life in prison, one of the women, Michelle Knight, gave a statement in court about her years in captivity and it’s just as unsettling as you’d expect. Knight spoke about how long each day felt while she was being held against her will.
“I cried every night,” Knight said. “I worried about what would happen to me and the other girls every day. Days never got shorter. Days turned into nights. Nights turned into days. The years turned into eternity.”
She also tearfully recounted how much she missed her son and how Castro brainwashed her into thinking no one cared about her.
“I knew nobody cared about me,” she said. “You told me that my family didn’t care.”
She also said that fellow victim, Gina DeJesus, “nursed me back to health when I was dying from his abuse. My friendship with her was the only thing that was good about this situation.”
Remarkably, Knight demonstrated strength and the ability to address Castro directly and basically tell him to “go to hell.”
“I spent 11 years in hell, and now your hell is just beginning,” she said to the 56-year-old. “I will overcome all of this that happened. You will face hell for eternity. From this moment on, I won’t let you define me or affect who I am. You will live. I will live on. You will die a little everyday…The death penalty would be so much easier. You don’t deserve that. You deserve to spend life in prison.”
32-year-old Michelle Knight was the only one of Castro’s three victims to appear in court to personally read her impact statement, while her fellow captives Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus submitted statements that were read by others.
WATCH MICHELLE KNIGHT READ HER STATEMENT HERE:
Michelle Knight’s FULL statement is below:
Good afternoon. My name is Michelle Knight. And I would like to tell you what this was like for me.
I missed my son every day. I wonder if I was ever going to see him again. He was only 2½ years old when I was taken. I look inside my heart and I see my son. I cried every night. I was so alone. I worried about what would happen to me and the other girls every day.
Days never got shorter. Days turned into nights. Nights turned into days. The years turned into eternity.
I knew nobody cared about me. He told me that my family didn’t care even on holidays. Christmas was the most traumatic day because I never got to spend it with my son. Nobody should ever have to go through what I went through or anybody else, not even the worst enemy.
Gina was my teammate. She never let me fall. I never let her fall. She nursed me back to health when I was dying from his abuse. My friendship with her is the only thing that was good out of this situation. We said we would some day make it out alive, and we did.
Ariel Castro, I remember all the times that you came home talking about what everybody else did wrong and act like you wasn’t doing the same thing. You said, at least I didn’t kill you. For you took 11 years of my life away, and I have got it back. I spent 11 years in hell, and now your hell is just beginning. I will overcome all this that happened, but you will face hell for eternity.
From this moment on, I will not let you define me or affect who I am. You will live — I will live on. You will die a little every day.
As you think about the 11 years and atrocities you inflicted on us, what does God think of you hypocritically going to church every Sunday, coming home to torture us. The death penalty would be so much easier. You don’t deserve that. You deserve to spend life in prison. I can forgive you, but I will never forget. With the guidance of God, I will prevail and help others that suffered at the hands of others.
Writing this statement gave me the strength to be a stronger woman, and know that there’s good — there is more good than evil.
I know that there is a lot of people going through hard times, but we need to reach out a hand and hold them and let them know that they’re being heard.
After 11 years, I am finally being heard, and it’s liberating.
Thank you, all. I love you. God bless you.