Here he is—the face of evil. Accused monster Ariel Castro appeared in court on kidnapping and rape charges in the case shocking the nation.
Castro never raised his eyes and pulled his prison jumpsuit over his chin, trying to hide his face in shame. He signed court papers with his hands in handcuffs.
A prosecuting attorney said, "Today, the situation has turned. Mr. Castro stands before you the captive. The women are free."
Castro's bail was set at $8 million and after less than four minutes he was taken away, surrounded by sheriff's deputies.
Castro's brothers, Pedro and Onil also appeared in court on unrelated misdemeanor charges. Police now say there's no evidence that the brothers were connected to the kidnappings. Cops drove the brothers to an undisclosed location for their own safety and released them.
Castro's mother broke down and sobbed when reporters caught up with her today. She apologized to the mothers of the kidnapped girls and said her son is sick.
Investigators are now revealing a suicide note Castro wrote back in 2004 in which he says: "I am a sexual predator. I need help."
Unbelievably, he blames his victims: "They are here against their will because they made a mistake of getting in a car with a total stranger."
After he abducted his third victim, Gina DeJesus in 2004, he wrote, "I don't know why I kept looking for another. I already had two in my possession."
Ariel Castro is now being held at the county jail in downtown Cleveland. Shocking new details are emerging about the horrific ordeal he forced his women captives to endure.
Castro was so twisted and depraved that each year he made them celebrate the anniversary of their abductions with a cake—a Happy Abduction Day.
"Sicko Slave Cake Ritual" says the New York Daily News frontpage.
Gina DeJesus' cousin says, "He would celebrate their abduction day as their new birthday." [Source: New York Times]
The women were "kept in the basement like dogs" [Source: New York Times] locked up in chains.
But eventually Castro let them live upstairs on the second floor in separate rooms. A floorplan shows that one of the rooms is only six-by-six, the size of a closet.
Michelle Knight says she got pregnant multiple times, but Castro starved her and repeatedly punched her in the stomach until she miscarried.
But, for some reason, when Amanda Berry got pregnant, Castro allowed her to have the baby.
According to the police report, when Berry gave birth to her daughter Jocelyn, Michelle Knight acted as a midwife.
Knight said Castro threatened to kill her if the baby died. When the newborn stopped breathing, Knight breathed into the baby's mouth to keep her alive. Today, little Jocelyn is six years old.
And we're now hearing dramatic police radio recordings when Cleveland cops first entered the house of horrors. They can be heard realizing with astonishment that the girls who vanished a decade ago were alive.
"This might be for real," said one officer.
The girls can be heard crying for joy, their horrific nightmare finally over.