"Life is tough, but I'm tougher! Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, she became a butterfly." –Michelle Knight
(Ohio)—As convicted kidnapper, murderer and rapist Ariel Castro was sentenced, Thursday, and apologized, facts were disclosed on the extent of his depravity—information that was confirmed in a journal kept by one of his victims.
Michelle Knight—the first of three girls that were kidnapped by Castro between 2002 and 2004—was said to have been abused the most. However, her strength and resilience has been remarkably evident since her rescue.
Knight bravely faced her former captor at his sentencing on Thursday, recounting how he had stolen 11 years of her life from her, years that should have been spent with her young son and family.
She described it as "11 years in Hell."
Reading her emotional statement in court, Michelle Knight spoke of how she and fellow victim, Gina Dejesus were teammates in their captivity. And that the only good thing to come of the nightmarish ordeal was the friendship the two girls shared.
Castro stated early on in the proceedings that he wanted to apologize, but he also questioned the mental state of his victims, protesting that he was "not a monster."
Night said in her statement directed at Castro, "I can forgive you but I will never forget. With the guidance of God, I will prevail and help others who have suffered at the hands of others."
Since their rescue this spring, Michelle Knight has been the most vocal of the three kidnap victims.
Recently, Knight wrote to Cleveland Police, thanking them for their ongoing help and for collecting the many cards and letters that had poured in for the girls from the public.
In her note, Knight said, "You don't know how much I appreciate all your time and work collecting cards and gifts from people for me and the other girls. I am overwhelmed by the amount of thoughts, love and prayers expressed by complete strangers. …Life is tough, but I'm tougher! Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, she became a butterfly."
According to the FOX News report, as part of his plea deal, Castro received a sentence of life with no chance of parole for aggravated murder in the forced miscarriage. He then received 1,000 years for the kidnapping, rape, assault and other charges.