By Sam Stanton
The last time Nancy Garrido will ever see her husband likely came at 9:26 a.m. Thursday, as she was being escorted out of a Placerville courtroom and headed off to begin her 36-year prison sentence.
"Love you," she mouthed to Phillip Garrido, who sat shackled in the courtroom jury box waiting for the judge to hand down his sentence of 431 years to life.
She had asked for a final, private meeting with him after they were sentenced, but El Dorado Superior Court Judge Douglas Phimister was having none of it.
"The request to meet with the co-defendant is denied," the judge said.
Her attorney, Stephen Tapson, asked if the judge would allow her to watch the sentencing of her husband.
"I will not," the judge said, and with that Nancy Garrido was taken away.
This is how the pairing of these two ends, with the 60-year-old Phillip Garrido soon to be packed off to a state prison such as the one at Corcoran, where infamous criminals like Charles Manson are protected from other inmates in a "protective housing unit."
Nancy Garrido will likely be sent to one of the women's prisons at Chowchilla, where people like Sara Jane Olson, the former Symbionese Liberation Army fugitive, did her time.
The two had been together since she met him while he was serving a federal kidnap sentence of 50 years to life after his abduction and rape of Katie Callaway in 1976.
Jaycee Lee Dugard, who was kidnapped by the pair in 1991 as an 11-year-old, recounted the story of how the Garridos met last September, when she appeared before a secret grand jury session in Placerville.
"They met in prison," she told the El Dorado County grand jury, according to transcripts released late Thursday. "She -- her uncle was also in the same prison that he was in, Leavenworth, Kansas.
"And it was like some party, some Cinco de Mayo or something. And she went to visit her uncle, and that's how they met. And then he started sending letters -- Phillip started sending letters to Nancy. And, eventually, they got married in prison."
Since Dugard was found alive in August 2009, Nancy Garrido's lawyer has tried to portray her as a victim of Phillip Garrido's ability to manipulate people, someone suffering from "Stockholm syndrome" who was under his spell.
But to some extent, it was Phillip Garrido's desire to show some compassion to his wife that led to Thursday's sentencing.
Lawyers for both Garridos have said the couple did not want Dugard -- or the two daughters she had as a result of Phillip Garrido's sexual assaults -- to have to testify at a trial. That led to the guilty pleas the two accepted in April, which include the slimmest of chances that Nancy Garrido will someday be free again.
Phillip Garrido had apparently wanted that for her, and in theory it is a possibility. She will be in her 80s when she becomes eligible for parole.
In the meantime, the two will have to communicate through letters, and for now neither may have contact with Dugard's two daughters.
Phimister ordered that neither contact any minor victims in the case.
But Tapson, who has said Nancy Garrido loves Dugard and her daughters, said he is certain that once they both are legal adults she will reach out to them for contact.
A favorable reply seems unlikely, given the statement Dugard had read to the pair Thursday morning on her behalf.
"I chose not to be here today because I didn't want to waste another second of my life in your presence," she wrote.