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Attorney: Castro allowed Cleveland women an escape

CLEVELAND — Ariel Castro intentionally left doors unlocked at his house in the months before three women escaped after nearly a decade of captivity because he knew the end was near, his former defense attorney said.

Castro felt that the young girl he fathered with one of his captives was getting older and needed to be in school with a life outside the house, attorney Craig Weintraub told WKYC in Cleveland.

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‘‘He didn’t have the courage to go to the Police Department and surrender, and the only way this was going to happen is if he was negligent and allowed them to leave the house and be able to find a way out while he was gone a few hours,’’ Weintraub said.

Tuesday was the anniversary of the escape from the house by Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus, whose breakout and subsequent recounting of the horrors they suffered during their time in captivity drew substantial attention. Castro pleaded guilty to a long list of charges last August; soon after that, he committed suicide in prison.

Weintraub, one of two attorneys who represented Castro, said that Castro decided not to kill the three women because he had become close to the child he had with Berry.

DeJesus, Berry, and Knight disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004 in Cleveland. They were rescued from Castro’s run-down house May 6, 2013, after Berry broke through a screen door. Police found DeJesus and Knight upstairs.

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