Ariel Castro, of Cleveland, agrees to plea in kidnap case of 3 missing Ohio women

Plea deal spares victims from testifying

CLEVELAND - 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.

According to CNN, with the plea deal, the women will be spared from having to testify and 'rehashing the horrors they said they endured' at trial in Cleveland.

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.

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