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Prosecutor: Castro's suicide proves he's a 'coward'

After serving only one month of his life sentence plus 1,000 years, Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro is being called a "coward" by the prosecutor who helped
Ariel Castro suicide - Morgan Whitaker - 09/3/2013
Ariel Castro enters the courtroom in Cleveland, Ohio July 26, 2013.

After serving only one month of his life sentence plus 1,000 years, Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro is being called a "coward" by the prosecutor who helped send him to prison--for killing himself in his jail cell.

Hours after his death--an apparent suicide by hanging according to the initial autopsy conducted by the Franklin County Cororner--Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty warned that Castro's death should be a warning to other deviants who might kidnap children.

"These degenerate molesters are cowards. They con and capture vulnerable children," McGinty said in a statement. "This man couldn't take, for even a month, a small portion of what he had dished out for more than a decade."

"Let this be a message to other child kidnappers: There will be a heavy price to pay when you are caught. You won't enjoy the captive side of the bars," he added.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said his community will continue to concentrate its attention on the recovery of kidnapping survivors Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight.

"Our focus remains on the well-being of the survivors of Seymour Avenue. It is our sincere hope that they will continue to heal and recover," he said in a statement, "I ask the community to continue to respect the privacy of the survivors so that they can move forward with their lives."

At this point it appears the survivors Castro held in captivity for nearly a decade won't be commenting on his death. Jones Day, the law firm representing Berry, DeJesus, and Knight, announced Wednesday morning that neither the firm nor the women would be releasing a statement at this time.

Knight was the last of the three to speak publicly of Castro, telling him in the courtroom on his sentencing day, "your hell is just beginning."

"I will overcome all this that happened, but you will face hell for eternity," she said. "The death penalty would be so much easier. You don't deserve that. You deserve to spend life in prison."

Castro had pleaded guilty to 937 counts in order to avoid a death penalty; he was sentenced to life without parole plus 1,000 years. During his sentencing, he urged the judge to be lenient, arguing he was not a “monster,” just a “sick” man who had suffered abuse himself.

Ohio corrections system spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said in a statement that Castro was not on a suicide watch, but was in "protective custody" alone in his cell where "rounds are required every 30 minutes at staggered intervals,"

While investigating his home in May, police found a confession and suicide note they believed Castro wrote in 2004, according to WOIO reporter Scott Taylor, who obtained a copy of the letter in which Castro claimed he was a sexual predator who needed help.

The day after Castro's death, Taylor visited the site on which the home at stood, tweeting out a picture:

Just arrived at former home of #ArielCastro in Cleveland, Ohio. Take a look at it now!— Scott Taylor (@ScottTaylor19) September 4, 2013

NBC's Richard Esposito contributed to this report.