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Michelle Knight testifies at Cleveland abductor hearing

Michelle Knight testifies at Cleveland abductor hearing

Michelle Knight, one of the three kidnapped women, pauses to wipe away tears as she reads her statements during the sentencing of her accused kidnapper Ariel Castro at a court hearing in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo: Reuters/Aaron Josefczyk

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) – The woman held for the longest time in captivity and repeatedly sexually assaulted by Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro testified on Thursday about the abuse she endured during 11 years of captivity.

Michelle Knight, 32, spoke in a strong voice, at times choking back tears.

“I served 11 years of hell. Now your hell is just beginning,” Knight said of Castro in a statement read to the court.

Castro pleaded guilty last week to hundreds of criminal charges to avoid the possibility of the death penalty. He is expected to be sentenced later on Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 1,000 years.

Wearing leg shackles and dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, Castro listened to the testimony without expression.

Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23 and Knight, all went missing from the west side of Cleveland between 2002 and 2004. They were discovered on May 6 after neighbors heard Berry’s cries for help from Castro’s home.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Writing by Greg McCune; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Gunna Dickson)

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