Ariel Castro plea deal reached; 1,000 years in jail, but no death penalty (VIDEO)

Ariel Castro will spend his life behind bars — but he won’t die — for kidnapping three women and holding them captive in Cleveland, Ohio, over the course of a decade.

Defense and prosecution attorneys reached a plea deal on Friday morning, putting Castro behind bars for 1,000-plus years, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported.

In the deal, the defense dropped 40 charges, but Castro accepted blame in 937 charges.

An attorney for Castro's three victims said they were relieved by the plea agreement.

A neighbor found Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32, inside his home in early May; they told authorities they were held prisoner and forced into sex.

They said Castro beat them into miscarriages. Police also found a six-year-old girl in the home; she was fathered by Castro with Berry, Reuters reported.

"Amanda, Gina, and Michelle are relieved by today's plea," the law firm Jones Day said in a statement. "They are satisfied by this resolution to the case, and are looking forward to having these legal proceedings draw to a final close in the near future."

More from GlobalPost: Victim's mom forgives Castro for kidnapping, raping her daughter

A judge spend most of Castro's appearance asking the 53-year-old former school bus driver if he understood what he was agreeing to with the deal.

Cuyahoga County Judge Michael Russo asked him if he understood English, both written and spoken, and if he understood he would never be free again.

"I do understand that," Castro said, Reuters reported. "I knew I was pretty much going to get the book thrown at me."

They also went through pages of documents, line by line, with the judge asking Castro if he understood each.

Castro tried to offer some explanation, saying an addiction to pornography and abuse he suffered as a child led to his troubles, the Associated Press reported.

The judge told him that was something he could discuss at later appearances.

Two aggravated murder charges stem from Castro beating and starving the women into miscarriages.

The women missing between 2002 and 2004 after accepting rides from Castro.

After one of them kicked open part of a door and called to a neighbor for help, their ordeals ended with police quickly arresting Castro on May 9, the AP said.

He initially entered not guilty pleas on July 17, but changed the pleas when prosecutors removed the death penalty.

The plea deal will spare any of the victims from appearing in court and reliving the horrors.

More from GlobalPost: Victims speak to the public, say 'thank you'