The victims of convicted kidnapper Ariel Castro celebrated Wednesday as his Cleveland home was reduced to rubble. The home — known as the “house of horrors” — is where Castro held three women captive for 11 years. He was convicted Aug. 1 on charges of kidnapping, raping and assaulting the three women.
One of the victims, Michelle Knight, 32, passed out yellow balloons to the crowd at the demolition. They released the balloons as the house was torn down. The aunt of another victim, Gina DeJesus, who was not present at the demolition, took the first swing at the house with a crane.
“I had so much anger inside me. I wanted to do it,” says the aunt. “It felt great. It felt like a house of horrors coming down.”
About $22,000 was found in the home and was offered to the three victims, but they asked that the money be donated to the neighborhood.
Prosecutors said that Castro had an emotional attachment to the home and broke down into tears when he had to sign over the property deed. Castro reportedly told prosecutors that it was wrong to tear down the house because of all his happy memories there.
The demolition of Castro’s house was part of a plea deal that spared him from the death sentence, ABC News reports. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole, plus 1,000 years.
The city has yet to announce any plans for the land where the home once stood.
Source: “Ariel Castro’s ‘House of Horrors’ Demolished,” ABC News (Aug. 8, 2013)