Nine-Plus Years of Living Hell for Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight and Amanda Berry

A reader asked me what I thought of the recent brave escape of Amanda Berry and her child from the home of sexual deviant and subhuman animal Ariel Castro, who held three women he had abducted years earlier in his house of horrors in Cleveland.  For me, it is the ultimate triumph of good over evil.  In spite of what this piece of shit did to these women FOR YEARS, they lived through it, right under the noses of police who were supposedly looking for them, and Amanda Berry escaped, got help and this weasel was arrested.  

I think the bigger question was, what does this kind of case (which is sadly not unprecedented–consider Elizabeth Smart, Shawn Hornbeck, and others) trigger in someone like me?  Aside from the obvious–gratitude that these women are still alive, it triggers all kinds of responses.  Anyone who suffers from some form of post-traumatic stress disorder, whatever the reason/source, understands.  But that said, my response is probably very similar to yours.  

Thankfully, the press seems to be treating these women and their families with respect and dignity.  What has been revealed about their treatment (which, I can assure you, is completely minimized), makes me think that if it were me, I would have wished every day if I was in this man’s house of horrors, that I was dead.  So I am filled with awe that they chose to live.  

When I saw his photos online, I wanted to puke.  Wielding that power over girls/young women, who he held captive until they turned to women; restrained because he was such a pussy he could only have a woman in his life if he held them captive.  He will only be charged with the death penalty if the prosecutor decides to make that charge based on his murder of the fetuses the women he raped were carrying.  I don’t believe in the death penalty for reasons that I will gladly debate; however, if the voters of a state believe the death penalty is appropriate for murderers under “special circumstances,” I believe it is appropriate for aggravated sex crimes.  Sex crimes sentence the victims to a living death.  The perpetrators deserve nothing less.  

I’m sorry, but you asked–I feel the moral, legal and ethical issues are addressed fully if a defendant receives a fair trial (after a fair police investigation–good luck with that one) in a sex crime case or a murder case if, after conviction, the defendant is placed in the general population (no special treatment, big boy), for the rest of his life.  They are nothing special.  If defendants guilty of drug crimes get tossed in the general population, these pussies should get the same treatment.  One strike on sex crimes, just like it is for drug crimes or murder, regardless of who you or your daddy is.  A drug addict or murderer has a better chance of turning his life around than a sex predator.  Your fellow inmates get it better than we do. 

Another feeling–oh come on, more “he was such a nice guy, great neighbor, blah, blah, blah”??!!  What do you think now that you know what was going on in that house, neighbors?!  Hey, let’s have a beer on the porch with old Ariel.  Such a friendly guy! 

Here’s another thing this horrifying and appalling case triggers for me–the “runaway response.”  Cops always want it to be a runaway situation.  Sure, just wait another 36 to 48 to 72-hours? I can’t tell you how many people told me in the first 72-hours that Tim “probably just ran away.”  That is what people tell themselves so they don’t have to think of the alternative.  Even if the person is found to have runaway or ditched out on obligations, isn’t it better to assume the worst and then hope for the best?!  It’s a runaway situation–let’s focus on traffic issues for another 36 hours and hope this issue goes away.  

This stuff rattles me big time.  It makes me sad, it makes me mad, it makes me want to put duct tape over Ariel Castro’s eyes and pull it off, repeatedly, for the next nine years.  But that’s not what’s going to happen.  He will get a public defender, a fair trial, and life in prison–probably in protective custody.  Because that’s the way our system rolls.  The parents of Ariel Castro will fare better than the parents of Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight and Amanda Berry.  That’s just the way it works.   

12 thoughts on “Nine-Plus Years of Living Hell for Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight and Amanda Berry”

  1. This may be getting off-topic, but another recent, horrific series of crimes that occurred in Cleveland over the course of three years was the kidnapping, rape, and murder of eleven women by Anthony Sowell. A major reason why he was able to get away with so many murders was his choice of victims–eleven mostly middle-aged black women. The police spent little time investigating these disappearances, and the media completely ignored them.

    There is a profound need in this country to find other means of publicizing unsolved/cold cases besides reliance on the news media. There are so many homicide reports filed away, the crimes unsolved, and until somebody in the private sector can find a way to make information on these cases available to the public (or if state legislatures can compel law enforcement to make that information available–unlikely, but possible) these victims are destined to be forgotten. Trust me–websites such as and local Crimestoppers pages are barely scratching the surface in terms of the total number of these cases.

    1. One of the most glaring instances of what you are saying is the misding (murdered) children from 30, 40, 50 years ago. There are hundreds of databases online that log each child’s name in with every other missing child, add an age-progressed photo & call that “searching” for a missing child. There are children like Ann Marie Burr (8, 1961) who is still buried beneath MacIntyre Hall of Puget Sound University in Tacoma Wa. (Her FB page is called Locating Ann Marie Burr’s Remains) & who will never be recovered if a legal entity isn’t willing to be formed that can be willing to create projects aimed at her recovery and push them before judges, officials, & school administrators. Both parents and both detectives are now passed away and it is a long road for her recovery. The college (PSU) doesn’t want to waste time & energy digging up their beautiful floor & the county (Pierce) doesn’t want their city to be associated as the “killing ground” where infamous serial killer Ted Bundy started killing. They all would rather look the other way & act like she is still missing after 53 years. She isn’t missing. She is left buried beneath the college for political reasons.

  2. You are so right, Andrew. The thought that the voices of these victims are silenced because law enforcement doesn’t want any rocks turned that they don’t have control over
    over takes my breath away and makes me sick.

  3. From news articles about Ariel Castro:

    In a lengthy, handwritten note from 2004 discovered in his house by FBI agents, Castro allegedly confessed to taking the three women and said that he was abused as a child and raped by an uncle, according to a law enforcement source.

    There were reports that Castro called himself a “sexual predator” and provided details about taking each of his victims. He blamed the women for their own kidnappings, but he asks for whatever money he has to be donated to his victims after his death.

    Two thoughts: (1) Go figure. (2) Seriously???

  4. With every child (and these women with the exception of Michelle Knight were children) that emerges from the hell of bondage, I feel a surge of triumph, a fist pump and a “Yessssss”. Their odds of getting out are low and when they overcome those odds, it’s a victory. But then, the afterward begins. It’s this rush to make sure the animals have all of their needs met, all of their civil liberties covered and their reasons and soft sided moments brought to light (Castro’s letter and desire to give his money to victims – who gives a shit?) that make me sick. Of course he was a good neighbor, of course we had beers together and he seemed like a nice guy. WHY? Because he KNOWS what he is doing is deplorably, grotesquely WRONG and he will do anything to cover his ass. . .including wear the “Good Guy” costume so as not to call attention. i hear it all the damn time and quite frankly I am sick of it.

    I know this is America and Castro has the right to a speedy trial, but I’d like to see him held for as long and treated the way he treated Amanda, Gina and Michelle before they saw freedom. Strip him down, chain him away, control his food, beat the shit out of him and perhaps when his trial rolls around in 10 years we can worry about how fair his trial will be.

  5. Hi Cathy. I could just puke with the Arias decision.

    Sent from my iPad

  6. I’m surprised to hear that you’re not in favor of the death penalty. I am, especially for child killers and serial killers. I don’t want to debate with you but I’d really you to list the reasons why you oppose it. Thanks!

    1. Why I am not a proponent of the death penalty:

      1. DNA exonerations in many criminal cases prove to me that more than a few innocent people have been put to death for crimes they did not commit. It’s a mistake that can’t be corrected.
      2. I worked directly on two death penalty cases as a law clerk; one in state court, one in federal court, and was exposed to many more in that work. From what I have seen, these cases are cluster-f***s. These cases have to spend so much time in appellate court because a person’s life is at stake and, believe it or not, every once in a while the person is innocent or in fact did receive ineffective assistance of counsel. The appeals drag on for years at taxpayer expense.
      3. We live in a democracy and not in biblical times. It is not “an eye for an eye.” We don’t cut off people’s hands for stealing.
      4. Revenge is not a proper goal of the legal system.
      5. Because the death penalty is administered disproportionately to people of color.
      6. Because, depending on the region of the country, the death penalty is not reserved for the most heinous crimes involving aggravating factors, but is given more widely.
      7. Because it is asking a lot of a juror, even one who thinks going into the experience that s/he sure as hell could sentence someone to death, to give the death penalty.
      8. Because death is easier than life in prison without the possibility of parole.
      9. Because I don’t believe for a minute that the death penalty is a deterrent. None of these freaks think they are going to get caught anyway.

      Michigan is not a death penalty state, and was not in 1976 or 1977, when these crimes were committed. Therefore any living participant convicted in the OCCK crimes could not be sentenced to death.

  7. Have they all been classified as mentally-retarded? Never seen a phone, never seen any opportunity to escape, never yelled for help, and with a postal employee there six days a week plus likely hundreds of other service-providers over the years? Hardly unlikely, imo. Victims?, not likely.

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