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Brothers of Cleveland kidnap suspect hope he 'rots in jail'

Onil Castro and Pedro Castro (R) appear for their initial court appearance in Cleveland, Ohio, May 9, 2013. REUTERS/John Gress
Onil Castro and Pedro Castro (R) appear for their initial court appearance in Cleveland, Ohio, May 9, 2013. REUTERS/John Gress

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Two brothers of a former Cleveland school bus driver accused of holding three women hostage in his house for a decade described Ariel Castro as a "monster" and said they hope he "rots in jail" if convicted of kidnapping and raping the women.

Pedro and Onil Castro were also detained a week ago by police in connection with the abduction of the women, but were quickly released after the brothers insisted they were not aware the women were in the house.

"I hope he rots in that jail," Onil Castro, 50, said in an interview with CNN broadcast on Monday. "I feel the same way," said Pedro Castro.

Prosecutors in Cleveland, Ohio last week charged Ariel Castro, 52, with four counts of kidnapping the women as well as the young daughter of one of the women born in captivity, and three counts of rape, but brought no charges against brothers Onil or Pedro.

In their first TV interview since the captives escaped last Monday, the men said that for the last decade they had not been allowed past the kitchen of their brother's house.

Onil Castro said he was riding with Ariel in the suspect's car when the police pulled them over. He initially presumed it was for a traffic violation.

The men were separated, and Onil said he had little sense of the seriousness of the situation until a brief encounter later with Ariel when he was walking from his jail cell to a restroom.

"When he walked past me, he goes, 'Onil, you're never going to see me again. I love you bro.' And that was it," Onil Castro said in the interview. "And he put his fist up for a bump."

Ariel Castro has been accused of holding three women, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, captive for about a decade and fathering a child, now six years old, with Berry.

Pedro Castro, 54, recalled being awakened by police and presuming he was being arrested due to a longstanding open container violation. He described himself as surprised when detectives who had brought him in for questioning told him his brother was a kidnapping suspect.

"The detective said, 'Well, these three girls are in your brother's house,'" Pedro Castro said in the TV interview. "And I just, what, say that again. 'These three girls are in your brother's house.' 'What do you mean in my brother's house?' 'He kept them captive.' 'You mean, they're alive and in my brother's house?' 'Yes.'"

Onil and Pedro said that when Ariel invited them over to eat, they typically had their meal on the stoop but would occasionally go inside to drink liquor.

"I didn't go to his house very much, but when I did, he would let me in not past the kitchen," Pedro said. "The reason why we would go in the kitchen, because he had alcohol. And he would take me in the kitchen, give me a shot."

Ariel explained the limits by saying he heated only the kitchen to save money.

"Ariel, to me, he was a strange dude," Pedro said. He said he didn't question Ariel about being limited to the kitchen "because he gets cold real quickly. He's always wearing a lot of coats and stuff, so I figured well, he wants to keep the heat in."

Police have cordoned off the house where the women were held captive with a high fence, and metal barriers remain in the street in front of the house, a Reuters reporter who drove by the house said. They continued to comb through the property on Monday for any clues in the case.

Cleveland Police Department released on Monday almost 50 pages of police reports on Onil and Pedro, including multiple pages that detail a fight between the two brothers.

Police responded in September, 1991 to a call about a fight between the two that left Pedro believing his arm had been broken. But he refused medical treatment and said he would only press charges against Onil if his arm was broken. Both men were drunk at the time, according to the police report.

The reports also show that both men were accused by their female partners of domestic abuse. Pedro's wife complained to police in 1997 that he had abused her after drinking a lot of alcohol.

Onil was arrested in 1991 for domestic violence and resisting arrest after allegedly attacking his common law wife. The police report said he was drunk and threatened to kill his partner's sister, her two children and any police who responded during the incident. He was never prosecuted.

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor has said there is no evidence to suggest the brothers were involved with Ariel Castro. The Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said on Monday that DNA from Ariel Castro and his two brothers was checked against all nationwide cases where there was a DNA sample and there were no matches.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Grant McCool, Greg McCune and Bernard Orr)

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