CLEVELAND (NBC News) -- The Ohio man accused of kidnapping and torturing three young women for a decade was back in court today to change his plea in an attempt to save his own life.
Ariel Castro was escorted into a Cleveland courtroom this morning with his defense team.
Today's hearing was set after Castro indicated he'd be willing to change his original "not guilty" plea to "guilty."
In accepting a deal where the state took the death penalty off the table.
His trial was set to begin august 5th on a myriad of charges related to the kidnapping, rape, torture and imprisonment of three young girls taken in Cleveland starting in 2002.
Today Castro and the judge had several exchanges about what the deal meant--and in some moments, Castro appeared visibly uncomfortable with labels like "violent" and "predator."
Castro's acceptance of the plea deal also spares his three female victims from having to testify or endure the trauma of an emotionally wrenching trial.
-- Steve Handelsman, NBC News, reports