Ariel Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. It is not very often that a defendant will plead guilty to such serious crimes so quickly including murder and kidnapping. A murder and kidnapping case can easily spend up to a couple of years in the legal system before an end result is reached. However, part of the reason that he pleaded guilty so quickly was that the prosecution agreed to drop the death penalty in exchange for the plea to life.
This is not entirely uncommon for the prosecution to stop seeking the death penalty in exchange for a guilty plea. This happened not too long ago in Palm Beach County in the case of Paul Michael Merhige. Paul Michael Merhige’s case was similar to Ariel Castro’s case in that there was a tsunami of publicity surrounding the case that made the public aware of the heinous facts of the case.
At Ariel Castro’s sentencing hearing the Prosecution will present evidence illustrating the aggravating factors of the crimes and their effect on the victims in the case. Various news sources have reported that the Prosecution will recommend that he be sentenced to life plus 1,000 years. Ariel Castro will have an opportunity to speak at the sentencing hearing if he wishes, but with the mountain of evidence facing him his statement will have a minimal impact on his sentence.