CLEVELAND (AP) - A Cleveland man accused of holding three women captive in his home for about a decade has agreed to plead guilty in a deal to avoid the death penalty.
Ariel Castro is entering the plea Friday. In exchange, prosecutors said the 53-year-old Castro would be sentenced to life without parole plus 1,000 years.
Castro says a pornography addiction and "sexual problem" have taken a toll on his mind. He also says he was sexually abused as a child.
Castro had been charged in a 977-count indictment.
He had been scheduled for trial Aug. 5 on allegations that include repeatedly restraining the women and punching and starving one woman until she had a miscarriage.
The women disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old. Each said they had accepted a ride from Castro.
They escaped Castro's house May 6 when one kicked out part of a door and called to neighbors for help. Castro was arrested within hours and has remained behind bars.
A man accused of kidnapping three women, keeping them captive in his Cleveland home for about a decade and raping them repeatedly faces a final pretrial hearing a day after his attorneys and prosecutors said they have entered into plea negotiations.
The 53-year-old Ariel Castro is scheduled to appear in court Friday morning before a Cuyahoga County judge who wants to be updated on the talks.
Plea deal negotiations are hinging on whether the prosecutor would rule out the death penalty as the defense has demanded.
Castro, whose trial is slated to start Aug. 5, has pleaded not guilty to nearly 1,000 counts of kidnap, rape and other crimes. His indictment includes two counts of aggravated murder related to accusations he punched and starved one of the women until she miscarried.
The women escaped to freedom in May.
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