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“We had a lot of harmony that went on in that home,” Castro said.

Castro called his daughter with Berry a “miracle child” and argued with the judge that he didn’t commit a violent crime.

Once Castro finished, Judge Michael Russo thanked Knight for showing “remarkable restraint” during his statement. The judge then dismissed Castro’s claims that the women lived happy lives with him.

“I’m not sure there’s anyone in America that would agree with you,” he said.

None of Castro’s relatives was in the courtroom. Berry and DeJesus also stayed away. Instead, their family members read statements on their behalf.

“We stand before you and promise you that our beloved family member thrives,” said Sylvia Colon, DeJesus‘ cousin. “She laughs, swims, dances and, more importantly, she loves and is loved.”

Outside court, assistant prosecutor Blaise Thomas responded to Castro’s claim of creating a harmonious family life for the women by recounting how Castro cried several days ago when he signed over the deed to his house as part of the plea deal. Castro was sorry to lose the house and mentioned “the many happy memories” he had there with the three women, Thomas said.

“That’s how he views the world,” she said. “That’s how distorted and twisted he is.”

The house, a drive-by attraction, has been fenced off and under police guard since the women escaped and will be demolished.

The women have begun emerging from the privacy they had sought after they escaped to freedom.

Berry made a surprise onstage appearance at a rap concert last weekend, and DeJesus made a few televised comments as a privacy fence was being erected around her house.


Seewer reported from Toledo. Andrew Welsh-Huggins in Columbus contributed to this report.