Elias Acevedo Sr., 49, was arrested earlier this year in the same neighborhood where authorities found Amanda Berry, Georgina “Gina” DeJesus and Michelle Knight in May at Ariel Castro’s two-story home.
Acevedo pled guilty to 297 counts, including aggravated murder, rape, and kidnapping. He will serve life in prison. The official plea agreement sentence is 445 years.
In October, the FBI’s Violent Crime Task Force, which began looking into other missing persons’ cases in the area after Castro was apprehended, arrested Acevedo for the murder of Christina Adkins, who disappeared in 1995 at the age of 18. Remains that are believed to be Adkins were discovered that same month in a utility vault near interstate highways 71, 90, and 490. Acevedo confessed and also admitted to killing Pamela Pemberton, 30, in 1994.
Acevedo knew both Pemberton, who was his neighbor, and Adkins, who was his cousin’s girlfriend. Acevedo told authorities that he and Pemberton were drinking with friends and later walked to Clark Field in Tremont. When Pemberton refused his advances, he raped and strangled her to death.
Just 2 ½ months later, Acevedo said he ran into Adkins on West 25th Street. The 18-year old was five months pregnant and was upset. Acevedo convinced her to walk with him to an area near a highway interchange. She refused his advances, so he raped her. When she threatened to report him to the police, he said he snapped and killed her. He then hid her body in the utility vault, where it was found 18 years later.
As part of the plea deal, Acevedo will not be officially charged with several sexual assaults including, his three daughters and his brother’s then-girlfriend (who was 5 1/2 months pregnant at the time).
“You have changed my life forever,” one daughter said, “You robbed me of my childhood…I have lived in fear…”
“I am grateful I can stand here today as one of his survivors,” said his then-brother’s girlfriend at the sentencing hearing.
The woman, now in her 30s, was key in helping investigators gather information on Acevedo after her 1993 rape case was reopened as part of the county’s DNA Cold Case Task Force initiative. Acevedo’s living rape victims and other witnesses gave investigators from the FBI Violent Crime Task Force vital information as they began to investigate his possible involvement in Adkins’ death.
As a part of Monday’s court hearing, FBI Special Agent Andrew Burke described how Acevedo was first confronted with evidence related to the chronic sexual abuse of his daughters. He eventually admitted to those crimes after hours of interrogation. After Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty agreed to take the death penalty off the table, Acevedo confessed to killing Adkins and Pemberton. Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Michael Donnelly said that this was the harshest sentence he has ever given, but that it was appropriate.
Acevedo’s attorney, Bret Jordan, said his client has mental health issues and has agreed to cooperate with the FBI in future investigations.
“He has shown extraordinary remorse for everything that happened,” Jordan said.
Acevedo who initially was not going to give a statement, stood after the victim impact statements were given, and apologized to his victims’ families and to his daughters.
“I can’t describe the regret and shame I have for what I’ve done..,” he said. “I wish I could bring your daughters back.”
Acevedo cried as the victims’ gave their statements and said that he wished that he could “change everything…”
“I’m not a monster,” he said.