By Kim Palmer
CHICAGO (Reuters) – A former neighbor of Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro pleaded guilty on Monday to murders and rapes committed nearly two decades ago and was sentenced to more than 400 years in prison with no chance of parole, prosecutors said.
Elias Acevedo, Sr., 49, became a suspect in two murders committed in the 1990s after the FBI re-examined the disappearance of other missing women from the Seymour Avenue neighborhood in the aftermath of Castro’s arrest in May.
Castro was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping, raping and torturing three women for about a decade, after they and the child he fathered with one of them were rescued from his home nearby.
One month into his sentence, Castro was found hanged in his cell and his death has been ruled a suicide.
Acevedo pleaded guilty on Monday to all 297 counts against him, including the murder, kidnapping and rape of Pamela Pemberton, his 30-year-old neighbor, found strangled in 1994 and to the murder of Christina Adkins, a pregnant 18-year-old who disappeared in 1995.
Adkins body was discovered in a manhole off a busy highway in October, 18 years after her disappearance.
Acevedo also pleaded guilty to three rapes of children and the rape of his brother’s common-law wife in 1993. He was sentenced to 445 years in prison.
He confessed to the Pemberton and Adkins murders in October in an attempt to avoid the death penalty, according to prosecutors.
A registered sex offender, Acevedo was arrested in June for failing to register his address with authorities.
(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Leslie Gevirtz)