Sacto 9-1-1
April 28, 2011
Dugard expresses relief that Garridos pleaded guilty

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By Sam Stanton
sstanton@sacbee.com

Jaycee Lee Dugard today expressed relief that Phillip and Nancy Garrido pleaded guilty in El Dorado Superior Court to kidnapping and assaulting her.

Another victim said she was "extremely happy that my ordeal with Phillip Garrido is finally coming to a close."

"I'm relieved that Phillip and Nancy Garrido have finally acknowledged their guilt and confessed to their crimes against me and my family," Dugard said in a prepared statement.

Dugard, now 30, is living in seclusion with the two girls she bore to Phillip Garrido, the first after she became pregnant at 13. Dugard did not appear in the courtroom.

The Garridos have previously confessed to abducting Dugard in 1991 when she was 11 and holding her captive for 18 years.

"I am extremely happy that my ordeal with Phillip Garrido is finally coming to a close," Katie Callaway Hall said. "I know that the El Dorado District Attorney's Office is making sure that, this time, Garrido will not be able to talk his way out of prison and past the Parole systems."

Hall was abducted and assaulted by Garrido in 1976.

Under the plea agreement, Phillip Garrido, 60, will spend the rest of his life in prison.

He agreed to a sentence of 431 years to life in prison.

He pleaded guilty to multiple counts, including kidnap, forcible rape and forcible lewd acts on a child.

Nancy Garrido, 55, pleaded guilty to kidnap and aiding and abetting forcible rape.

Nancy Garrido's lawyer had been fighting for a plea deal that would allow her release after about 30 years in prison. She accepted a plea deal that will give her 36 years to life, and the effect of the deal means she likely will serve 31 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

District Attorney Vern Pierson said that he intends to oppose her release once she is eligible for parole. His intent is that she remain in prison for life, he said.

Nancy Garrido was quietly sobbing throughout the hearing this morning. The bailiff at one point handed her a tissue.

The hearing this morning in Placerville lasted 35 minutes.

In court, both defendants spoke quietly.

Nancy Garrido started to cry when she was asked to admit that she was guilty of kidnapping Dugard for a sex act.

The judge said he only had about an hour to review the plea agreements this morning before calling the hearing. Only about a dozen spectators were in courtroom and nine media members.

Nancy and Phillip previously met in courtroom three or four times to discuss personal issues and the plea agreements, the latest on Wednesday.

Sentencing is set for 9 a.m. June 2 for the couple.

Outside the courtroom, Nancy Garrido's lawyer, Stephen Tapson, said that since her arrest she wanted to make certain neither Dugard nor her daughters would have to testify about the horrors of their captivity.

"I gotta tell you, from the get-go, she said just do the best you can, Mr. Tapson, because I don't want Jaycee and the kids to go through an actual trial," Tapson said.

Tapson said the plea deal for Nancy Garrido was "the best I could get."

"Obviously, you don't want to plead your client guilty to a life sentence, but that's the best I could get and it's what she was willing to do."

District Attorney Pierson said he spoke to Dugard last night to tell her that the case was ending.

Dugard was "very relieved" she would not have to testify, but Pierson emphasized that she was willing to if the case went to trial and that that was a major factor that allowed his office to keep the pressure on until they agreed to plead.

He added that he does not know whether Dugard will speak at the sentencing.

Phillip Garrido's attorney did not emerge from the courthouse to speak with reporters waiting outside, but she has conceded previously there was no way her client ever would win release.

PHOTO CAPTION: Nancy Garrido, left, and Phillip Garrido, right, stand with attorney Susan Gellman, center, moments before the Garridos pleaded guilty in the Jaycee Lee Dugard case. Photo by Randy Pench / rpench@sacbee.com



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