The Cleveland man accused of holding three women captive in his home for about a decade agreed to plead guilty in a deal to avoid the death penalty.
In exchange, prosecutors said 53-year-old Ariel Castro would be sentenced to life without parole plus 1,000 years.
A judge accepted the pleas and declared Castro guilty. Sentencing is Aug. 1.
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 former school bus driver also was charged with hundreds of counts of kidnapping and rape, plus assault and other counts.
Castro was in court Friday morning to enter the guilty plea. When asked if he understood he would never be released from prison, Castro said: “I do understand that, your honor.”