Castro, Victim Will Speak at Today's Sentencing
Kidnapped women kept diaries of horrific abuse
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2013 1:45 AM CDT
Ariel Castro enters the courtroom Friday, July 26, 2013, in Cleveland.    (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

(Newser) – Ariel Castro's sentencing is today and the hearing is expected to feature horrific details of the abuse the three women he kidnapped suffered over a decade, as well as testimony from at least one victim and Castro himself, CNN reports. Prosecutors have revealed that the women kept diaries documenting the extreme physical, mental, and sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of Castro, who pleaded guilty to 937 counts in a deal that spares him the death penalty but gives him life in prison without parole—plus 1,000 years.

Michelle Knight, the first to be kidnapped, suffered "the longest and most severely," according to a pre-sentencing report prepared by a psychiatrist. Knight is expected to give a victim statement; it's not clear whether Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus will also testify. (In a recent thank-you note to police, Knight wrote that "life is tough, but I'm tougher!") Prosecutors say the report and today's testimony will serve as a record in case Castro's sentence is ever reviewed, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Castro's sister says he will deliver a lengthy statement to the court that will let people see "the other side of Ariel Castro" and show he is "not the monster that everyone thinks he is."