By Kim Palmer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) - The Cleveland bus driver sentenced to life in prison for abducting three women and repeatedly raping them over a decade has been moved to an Ohio state prison for evaluation, a county spokesman said on Saturday.
Ariel Castro, 53, was taken on Friday from a jail in Cleveland to the Lorain Correctional Institution in Grafton, Ohio, according to Cuyahoga County spokesman, John O'Brien.
Castro will undergo a mental and physical evaluation before being placed permanently in a facility, O'Brien said.
Castro was sentenced on Thursday to life in prison without parole, plus 1,000 years. He had pleaded guilty to hundreds of charges, including murder under a fetal homicide law after beating and starving one his victims, Michelle Knight, to force her to miscarry.
While Castro apologized to the women at his sentencing on Thursday, he was mostly defiant. He argued with the judge and made several bizarre comments.
"I am not a monster," Castro said during a rambling, 16-minute statement in court.
Castro said the women were not virgins when he abducted them and sex was consensual. A 6-year-old girl fathered by Castro with one of the captive women, had a "normal" life, he said, and there was "a lot of harmony" in the house where he kept the women imprisoned.
Castro told the judge he was not a violent person, despite pleading guilty to beating and binding the women with chains and ropes. He said that a history of violence against his former common law wife was because she would not "quiet down."
Michael Benza, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and a former Cuyahoga County prosecutor, told Reuters that he believed Castro would be placed in a medium-security facility based on his crimes and his lack of a previous criminal record.
"He will go through psychological testing and they will look at his education and prior convictions and give him a score," Benza said.
Castro abducted the women and held them for between 9 and 11 years, along with the 6-year-old girl, born in captivity.
Knight told him during a dramatic courtroom appearance that he had put her through 11 years of hell. She returned on Friday to the neighborhood where she was held captive and looked at the house, although she did not go inside.
The women were rescued on May 6 when neighbors heard one of the victims crying for help. Police and neighbors rescued all three from the fortress-like home, where there were locks on the outside of doors to several rooms, heavy curtains separating parts of the house, windows boarded up from the inside and more than 90 feet of chain.
(Reporting By Kim Palmer; Writing by Noreen O'Donnell; Editing by Greg McCune and Sandra Maler)