Ariel Castro found guilty of 977 counts of rape, kidnapping, assault, commits suicide in prison

On Sept. 3, Ariel Castro hanged himself in his prison cell in Franklin County, Ohio, after being sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years.

“This man couldn’t take, for even a month, a small portion of what he had dished out for over a decade,” prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty told the New York Daily News.

With the hope of avoiding the death penalty, Castro had earlier pleaded guilty to 977 counts of rape, kidnapping and sexual abuse.

Lisa McLeod, associate professor of philosophy, speculated on the reason for Castro’s decision to take his own life.  “Assuming it was suicide, it would give him more sense of control,” she said.

First-year Mara Stern agrees with McLeod.

“He didn’t want to serve the sentence,” she said.  “He wanted to die at his own hands.”

Information about Castro’s mental status has recently come to light.  Castro’s defense attorneys claim that Castro was a sociopath, meaning that his actions may have been influenced by his mental instability.

When asked what she thought about Castro’s mental state, McLeod said, “I think that there was something wrong, or at least I hope there was.  I don’t want to believe that healthy people could act that way.”

According to columnist Mary Sanchez, the federal prison system allowing Castro’s suicide is “a slap in the face to justice.”  In an article for Chicago Tribune, Sanchez wrote that “(in addition to) protecting the rest from society, prison serves … to rehabilitate, to punish, and to do justice to victims.”

The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that death by suicide is the leading cause of death in prison — more prevalent than murder, drug overdose and accidents combined.

“Given the prevalence of mental health problems in the nation’s prisons, this might not be that surprising,” Sanchez said. “But it’s doubtful that the deaths of less notable inmates will ever receive the level of publicity and scrutiny given to Castro’s death.”

After the fact, questions continue to surround Castro’s case.

Should Castro have been watched more closely, especially if he had a sociopathic disorder as his attorneys claim? Did he cheat his victims out of justice?

The answers can be debated but one thing is certain: the entire prison system will be under much scrutiny after this case.

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