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A horror show in Cleveland

Saturday, May 11, 2013 - 12:01 am

The shocking abduction and rape case coming out of Cleveland this week was like something out of a Stephen King horror novel: Three women reported missing in separate incidents are found in a house where they have been held captive and brutalized for a decade.

And the more details that emerged about the ordeal of Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus, the uglier the story got. Captor Ariel Castro, the three women said, initially kept them chained in the basement. And he used them, said prosecutor Brian Murphy, “in whatever self-gratifying, self-serving way he saw fit.” He impregnated one of the women five times and made her miscarry by starving her and punching her in the belly. He forced another to give birth in a plastic pool to so it would be easier to clean up.

Amid all the horrific revelations there was one lighter note – the emergence of Charles Ramsey, one of two neighbors who helped the women escape, as a national folk hero. His candor and humor charmed everyone to the point that a TV station reporting on his criminal background faced a public backlash and issued an apology for its bad timing and bad taste.

Castro, a former bus driver, was arraigned Thursday, and prosecutors say they will charge him with every single violent act he committed on the women, which could end up involving thousands of counts. He was being held on $8 million bond and then learned he would face the death penalty for those induced abortions.

As the week ended, family members of Castro’s former common-law wife, Grimilda Figeuro, called him “a monster.” Seems appropriate.