Life and death and the curious case of Ariel Castro

12 May

This is Timothy J. McGuinty, the man in Cleveland who has the unenviable job of spending the next few years of his life immersed in the grotesquerie of Ariel Castro’s mind.

227 Castro

Castro, of course, is the man who held three women hostage for a decade, raping, starving and torturing them for his own pleasure.  Without question, he is a sick motherfucker who has lost the right to ever see the light of day again.

If ever a person deserved the death penalty, Castro does.


I’m not a supporter of the death penalty, for two major reasons.  First, it is used disproportionately against poor people and racial minorities, and to me, that is totally unacceptable.  It is also used disproportionately against men, and god help poor black men up on capital charges.  They are fucked.

Black defendants who murder white victims continue to receive the highest rate of death sentences across the board; whites who murder whites receive the second highest; whites who murder blacks receive the third highest; and blacks who murder blacks receive the lowest rate.

The authors of the Cornell study use the word “defendants”, but they may as well just say “men”, because it’s mostly men who get to pay for their crimes with their lives.

Female offenders are unlikely to be arrested for murder, only very rarely sentenced to death, and almost never executed.

Males who commit homicide are nearly seven times as likely to be sentenced to death as are females who commit homicide.

This aggressive diversion of females who commit murder away from actual execution is nothing new. Of the over 8,000 persons lawfully executed in United States since 1900, only forty-six (0.6%) were female offenders.

Just based on that, I call bullshit.  If we are not going to execute women, then we aren’t going to execute men, either.

firing squad

My second big objection to the death penalty is that if you get it wrong, oh oops.  Sorry.  It can’t be undone.


Kirk Bloodsworth served eight years in Maryland prison – including two years on death row – for a murder and rape he didn’t commit, before he was exonerated in 1993.


Rolando Cruz, and his co-defendant Alejandro Hernandez, served more than 10 years on Illinois death row for a murder they didn’t commit before DNA testing proved both men innocent in 1995.


Verneal Jimerson and Dennis Williams were sentenced to death in the infamous Ford Heights Four case in Illinois for a pair of 1978 murders they didn’t commit. Jimerson was cleared in 1995 after a decade on death row and Williams served more than 17 years on death row before he was freed in 1996.


Robert Miller spent nine years on Oklahoma’s death row for a murder and rape he didn’t commit before he was cleared by DNA testing in 1998.


Ron Williamson spent a decade on Oklahoma’s death row for a murder he didn’t commit before DNA testing secured by the Innocence Project proved him innocent in 1999. His co-defendant, Dennis Fritz, was sentenced to life and spent 11 years in prison before DNA cleared him as well.

ronald jones

Ronald Jones, an Innocence Project client, served a decade on Illinois death row for a murder and rape he didn’t commit before DNA testing proved his innocence and led to his release in 1999.


Earl Washington, a Virginia man with limited mental capacity, was sentenced to death after he allegedly confessed to committing a 1982 murder he didn’t commit. He served a decade on death row, once coming within nine days of execution before receiving a stay. He would serve a total of 17 years behind bars before DNA testing obtained by the Innocence Project cleared him in 2000.


Frank Lee Smith died of cancer on Florida’s death row after serving 14 years for a murder and rape he didn’t commit. He was cleared by DNA testing obtained by the Innocence Project 11 months after his death.


Charles Irvin Fain served more than 17 years on death row in Idaho for a murder and rape he didn’t commit before DNA testing proved his innocence in 2001.


Ray Krone served a decade in Arizona prison – including four years on death row – for a murder and rape he didn’t commit before DNA testing proved his innocence in 2002.


Nicholas Yarris served more than 21 years on Pennsylvania’s death row before DNA testing proved his innocence and led to his release in 2003.


Ryan Matthews served five years on Louisiana’s death row for a murder he didn’t commit before he was exonerated by DNA testing in 2004. His co-defendant, Travis Hayes, was sentenced to life in prison and served eight years before he was cleared in 2007.


Curtis McCarty served 21 years in Oklahoma prison – including nearly 18 years on death row – for a murder he didn’t commit before DNA tests secured by the Innocence Project led to his exoneration in 2007. He was convicted twice and sentenced to death three times based on forensic misconduct.


Kennedy Brewer, an Innocence Project client, served 15 years behind bars – including seven years on death row – for a murder and sexual assault he didn’t commit before DNA testing from 2001 finally led to his exoneration in 2008.


Michael Blair served 13 years on death row for a murder he didn’t commit before DNA testing obtained by his lawyers at the Innocence Project proved his innocence and led to his exoneration in 2008.


Damon Thibodeaux spent 15 years on death row in Louisiana before he was exonerated in 2012. A prosecution expert who aided in the reinvestigation of his case concluded that the threat of the death penalty contributed to why he falsely confessed to the murder of his cousin.

If it were not for the Innocence Project, all these men would be dead.  For crimes they did not commit.

How many more are there?  These men make it crystal clear, to me anyways, that the death penalty is not a reasonable punishment.

OK, so I object to the death penalty on rational grounds, but emotionally I would like to see Ariel Castro fry.  I guess he gets the lethal injection in Ohio.  A special one-drug trip to Tombstone Alley.


I’d happily press the plunger myself.  Without hesitation.  Unfortunately, in Ohio the only offence for which you can be sentenced to death is aggravated murder with at least 1 of 7 aggravating circumstances.

(1)The defendant knowingly created a grave risk of death for one or more persons in addition to the victim of the offense

(2) The murder was committed for pecuniary gain or pursuant to an agreement that the defendant would receive something of value

(3) The capital offense was committed by a person who is incarcerated, has escaped, is on probation, is in jail, or is under a sentence of imprisonment

(4)The offender in the commission of the offense, purposefully caused the death of another who was under thirteen years of age at the time of the commission of the offense and the defendant committed the offense with prior calculation and design

(5)The offense was the assassination of the president of the United States or person in line of succession to the presidency, or of the governor or lieutenant governor of this state, or of the president-elect or vice president-elect of the United States, or of the governor-elect of this state, or of a candidate for any of the foregoing offices

(6)The murder was committed against a witness in a criminal proceeding to prevent the witness from appearing, or for revenge

(7)The offense was committed while the offender was committing, attempting to commit, or fleeing immediately after committing or attempting to commit terrorism

I’ll draw your attention to aggravating factors one and four.  Risking the death of someone else, and killing someone under the age of thirteen.

Fortunately, all three of the young women survived.  So whom did Castro murder?


One of the women became pregnant.  Five times.  The woman in question, and the other two women, allege that Castro starved and beat the pregnant woman so that she miscarried.  Four times.  The fifth child was born and survives.


[EDITED TO ADD:  One of the victims became pregnant five times and miscarried after being abused and starved all five times.  The child who lived was born to a different victim.  Sorry for the confusion.]

The persons Castro is being charged with murdering are the unborn babies.


Well now.  That’s pretty interesting.  Fetal homicide is a punishable crime in some states, and people can be charged with causing the death of a baby a woman intended to have.

Here’s an example of the charge being used:  the accused killed a runner, who happened to be pregnant at the time.

The Castro case is interesting because the woman’s pregnancy is complicated by the fact that she became pregnant as the result of being raped by her kidnapper.  Whether or not she intended to bear the children is deeply complicated by the circumstances under which they were conceived.

The normal argument that the woman intended to have the baby, and therefore the baby IS a baby (a person, under the law) is absent in this case.

Castro is being charged with murdering unborn babies full stop.


That opens a can of worms, doesn’t it?

In order to kill Castro, we are going to have to agree that unborn babies are persons, and can themselves be killed.

Not surprisingly, that is making the feminist crowd a wee bit nervous.  If babies are persons that can be murdered, what does that make abortion?

In order to allow women to have abortions, but still make room for the ability to prosecute people like Castro who deliberately kill unborn babies, we are going to have to agree on a very uncomfortable truth:

Babies are only people when the mother says they are. 

If a baby dies because someone deliberately caused that death, it’s murder.  If a baby dies because the mother deliberately caused that death, it’s a medical procedure.


The power to determine who counts as a person.  A power that belongs only to women. There’s no call for equality here.  A father who wants his child to be born and considers it a person has no authority to prosecute the woman who aborts that child.  That’s not the kind of fairness women are interested in. Nothing chilling about that, right?

Women, and only women, decide who lives.

Well, what can go wrong with that?

Oh, and Happy Mother’s Day.

Lots of love,


17 Responses to “Life and death and the curious case of Ariel Castro”

  1. David Sutton May 12, 2013 at 15:28 #

    All of your reasons against the death penalty are valid, and I am presuming to add one more; it’s too easy. Jodi arias has indicated this by saying that she would like to be sentenced to death because it would “free” her from a lifetime in prison. If she can be believed.


  2. Wilson May 12, 2013 at 16:09 #

    Imprisoning a guy who kept others imprisoned looks like a pretty appropriate punishment. True, there are allegations of rape and abuse for years on end, but that’s basically the normal state of women under patriarchy, and the male-dominated government proposes executing him just to hide this truth


  3. judgybitch May 12, 2013 at 16:12 #

    Glad you cleared that up for us.


  4. Goober May 12, 2013 at 16:41 #

    I hope you’re joking.


  5. openlyatheist May 12, 2013 at 16:42 #

    Wow. I stopped considering myself pro-choice for this very reason. I now consider myself neither pro-choice nor pro-life.

    Firstly, because I realized that the concepts of “reproductive rights” and “choice” do not apply to men, period.

    Secondly, a friend of mine revealed that she and her husband had overcome her partial hysterectomy and accidentally conceived once. They lost the baby at two months and referred to her as their “little miracle.” How can something be a “fetus” if it was aborted at two months, but a “little miracle” if it was wanted?

    This presents a problem when pro-choicer-ers try to present scientific arguments for why a fetus is not a person. (For one thing, it doesn’t mean anything to pro-life-ers, since their argument is usually founded in religion.) To be intellectually consistent, there can be no logical sympathy for women who miscarry.

    Instead, the issue of defining life is thrown out the window, and life is defined entirely by women’s feelings.


  6. Luke May 12, 2013 at 19:52 #

    Sigh. JB, you’re right that this Castro monster deserves execution. (Rather than hanging, I’d propose burning at the stake, on a charcoal fire, so there’d be no smoke to obscure the view, and thus the lesson to would-be kidnapers.)

    That said…

    No, it’s not at all unfair that minorities get nailed by the criminal justice system more than whites do. They do more of the crime! (Blacks are less bright than whites by a standard deviation, or ~84 IQ for blacks vs. 100 for whites, while Hispanics in the U.S. run about 1/2 a S.D., or about 91 average IQ, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that minorities other than North Asians would have poorer impulse control/ability to defer gratification/future orientation/etc.)

    From :

    The Color of Crime

    Race, Crime, and Justice in America
    Second, Expanded Edition, 2005
    The Color of Crime: Race, Crime, and Justice in America
    Click here for the free PDF version
    Click here to read on Scribd
    Major Findings:

    Police and the justice system are not biased against minorities.

    Crime Rates

    Blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, and eight times more likely to commit robbery.
    When blacks commit crimes of violence, they are nearly three times more likely than non-blacks to use a gun, and more than twice as likely to use a knife.
    Hispanics commit violent crimes at roughly three times the white rate, and Asians commit violent crimes at about one quarter the white rate.
    The single best indicator of violent crime levels in an area is the percentage of the population that is black and Hispanic.

    Interracial Crime

    Of the nearly 770,000 violent interracial crimes committed every year involving blacks and whites, blacks commit 85 percent and whites commit 15 percent.
    Blacks commit more violent crime against whites than against blacks. Forty-five percent of their victims are white, 43 percent are black, and 10 percent are Hispanic. When whites commit violent crime, only three percent of their victims are black.
    Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit robbery.
    Blacks are 2.25 times more likely to commit officially-designated hate crimes against whites than vice versa.


    Only 10 percent of youth gang members are white.
    Hispanics are 19 times more likely than whites to be members of youth gangs. Blacks are 15 times more likely, and Asians are nine times more likely.


    Between 1980 and 2003 the US incarceration rate more than tripled, from 139 to 482 per 100,000, and the number of prisoners increased from 320,000 to 1.39 million.
    Blacks are seven times more likely to be in prison than whites. Hispanics are three times more likely.”

    Re abortion: its ready acceptance in most of America today has destroyed traditional adoption. Interestingly, close to half of abortions in the U.S. today are done on blacks.
    (Hoary racialist joke: “What’s a good name for an abortion clinic in the black part of town? Crimestoppers.”) We have more capacity to produce (conceive) children than we do to raise them well, so some drive towards selection on (genetic, quality is natural and appropriate. Aborting fetuses with Down’s, Tay-Sachs, or the product of close incest is to be expected, given that. My biggest grouse about abortion law now is the gross mismatch between future fathers’ authority (right to compel or prevent abortions) of zero, vs. their responsibility post-birth (>= 50%). Those need to become the same. Ideally, the logic of contracts would be followed, where no pregnancy goes to completion without the written unambiguous OK of both genetic parents. Failing that, men should at least get the same right to sever all aspects of parenthood as women do, with the latter having legal rights to drop off babies at hospitals for 30 days post-birth in many states.


  7. Luke May 12, 2013 at 20:02 #

    Uh, no, Wilson, you’ve got it exactly backwards. Under nonpatriarchal societies, such as Haiti and the worst American inner cities, violence against women (and everybody else) is MUCH higher than it is in patriarchal societies. From, we can see that the men in such places are much more criminal. From Daniel Amneus’ excellent “The Garbage Generation”: p. 15-16:

    “Jamaica is a another textbook case. “Many Jamaican women live alone,” says Honor Ford Smith, artistic director of Sistren, a women’s cultural organization there.

    When I say alone, what I mean is live without a man. It’s often one woman with a lot of children in the house. But unlike many societies there has been a tradition of women being able to live without men and without living within the bosom of the extended family. So that there’s been a tradition of independent women living on their own, but the price that traditionally women have paid for that is that they then have to become the sole supporters of their children….But it brings with it certain benefits in the sense that unlike in the Middle East, or say Asia, some other countries, it’s possible to not be ostracized for having many sexual partners, it’s possible to live a little independently, to dress in certain ways, to move differently than has been traditionally possible in European or Asian societies.

    Jamaican women practice the first law of matriarchy and thereby deny a meaningful role to males, many of whom become anti- social:

    The situation of women has gotten worse in many ways. If you look at some of the so-called traditional indicators of progress, which is employment, etc., the situation of women hasn’t gotten any better. It’s got worse….In terms of the streets, in times gone by, in days of yore, women controlled the streets. Now the streets is not a woman’s domain. Violence of Jamaican society which is virtually taken for granted by everybody. I myself am looking for a place to live with grills [iron bars over the windows for security] everywhere at the moment….For a lot of women it is a matter of you can’t go out of the house after six o’clock, you must get home before dark, if you go to the theatre they have a special six o’clock matinee which is almost completely attended by women because that is the time when they have to go out. So that is a situation which has gotten much worse, too….Of course the level of sexual violence has increased so much that now the streets are not the domain of women, certainly the docks aren’t.

    The violence is male violence, a fact heavily emphasized in feminist propaganda, which calls it patriarchal violence. But these violent males are not patriarchs; they are exiles from the patriarchal system, males denied a meaningful role by the first law of matriarchy. “The role of the male,” says George Gilder, “is the Achilles’ heel of civilized society….The man still needs to be tamed.” The man’s violence needs to be tamed, no doubt, so that his energies may channeled into a useful direction rather than becoming destructive. But the taming and channeling are impossible without a meaningful male role; and since the first law of matriarchy denies men that meaningful role, the female is as much in need of taming as the male.”


  8. Red Pill Theory May 12, 2013 at 20:55 #

    Is there any way we could extradite him to Texas? Governor Perry knows how to deal with people like that.

    Also, if you’re accused of a capital crime…you’ve almost always killed, robbed or maimed before. Most of the time in America you go inside with one or two felonies at a minimum. Of course, we never seem to hear about the unsympathetic defendants in the media. They’re always bespectacled family men who’ve somehow been in the wrong place at the wrong time on their way to purchase diapers for their wives.

    We need to strengthen the OPD, and governors need to act with more courage with their powers of clemency, but beyond that hang em high, and hang em often.


  9. sqt May 12, 2013 at 23:03 #

    I generally disagree with your view on abortion– so I’ll just say Happy Mother’s Day and leave it at that. 🙂


  10. sqt May 12, 2013 at 23:06 #

    Or maybe I don’t… I’m not exactly sure where you come down on this issue.


  11. Ter May 13, 2013 at 03:59 #

    Castro deserves to be punished severely – but he cannot (should not) be charged with murder by inducing a miscarriage because, as JB suggests, anyone terminating a pregnancy of a healthy fetus becomes guilty of murder.


  12. Ter May 13, 2013 at 06:14 #

    Oops, didn’t mean to say that JB believes abortion is murder – I just meant that I agree with JB’s point that there’s a double standard on a healthy fetus being simultaneously considered an unborn person (“murder” if terminated) vs just a bunch of cells (“abortion” if terminated).


  13. Clover May 13, 2013 at 14:37 #

    I’m of the opinion that the scientific definition of person is the one that should stand. What your friends with their ‘little miracle’ had wasn’t a child, but a hope for one, a dream that never became a reality. The way they view it doesn’t make it a baby any more than if it had been a false pregnancy all along.
    I don’t think it should be considered murder to kill a foetus before it is biologically viable outside the womb, whatever the mother thinks. It makes sense to take emotional damage into consideration in cases where a woman has lost a pregnancy against her will, not because it’s ‘murder’, but because it’s taking a decision out of her hands. Kinda like the difference between compensating someone for a cancelled flight, compared to a plane crash.


  14. implying names December 24, 2013 at 00:55 #

    Given the points made in this article, the fact that this man died in prison is now seeming incredibly suspicious to me. Maybe that’s just my inner conspiracy theorist though.


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