Phillip Garrido pleads not guilty to kidnapping

Phillip Garrido, who along with his wife, Nancy Garrido, faces multiple charges in the 1991 kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard, talks with his court appointed attorney, Susan Gellman, before a hearing at the El Dorado County Superior Court in Placerville, Calif., Thursday, April 7, 2011. Garrido pleaded not guilty to all charges. Judge Douglas C. Phimister set a trial date of Aug. 1, 2011.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
April 7, 2011 6:30:42 PM PDT
There was a surprise plea in the kidnapping case of Jaycee Dugard Friday. Phillip Garrido was expected to plead guilty to charges related to the kidnapping and rape of Dugard when she was 11 years old and holding her captive in his hidden backyard compound for almost two decades but Garrido decided to plead not guilty.

Garrido fathered Dugard's two daughters during that time, who are now 13 and 16.

He has admitted all that, but still pled not guilty, and his attorney filed a last minute challenge to how the grand jury that indicted Garrido was selected.

"No matter what happens in this particular case, Mr. Garrido will be spending the rest of his life in prison, but that doesn't mean I roll over and play dead, OK," Garrido's attorney Susan Gellman said.

Gellman says she has no evidence of a problem with the grand jury, but has concerns over its racial and geographic make-up. She filed the motion as a matter of due diligence.

Now the court must consider the claim.

El Dorado District Attorney Vern Pierson says he is not worried because such motions are routinely filed and denied.

Without the guilty plea, Phillip will stand trial in August, along with his wife, Nancy, who also pleaded not guilty.

"We want to get this case resolved the way it needs to be resolved, which is these two need to be held accountable for their actions," Pierson said.

Nancy Garrido's attorney set off a frenzy earlier this week when he announced Phillip Garrido would likely plead guilty to spare Dugard from the pain of going through a trial. He hoped Phillip's guilty plea would also mean a lighter sentence for Nancy, perhaps 30 years instead of 180.

"If, indeed, Mr. Garrido had plead guilty today, I would be in a position to say?he's gone, so come on, let's give Nancy Garrido, who is not as bad as he is, a better deal that what's been offered so far," Nancy Garrido's attorney Stephen Tapson said.

Phillip Garrido's attorney says there never was an agreement to plead guilty and that other lawyers do not speak for her client.

"Mr. Tapson should never had done that, that was wrong of him to do and it's inaccurate," Gellman said.

The Garridos are back in court next month.

Dugard and her daughters remain in seclusion and recently received $20 million from the state of California for repeated mistakes by parole agents who were supposed to be keeping an eye on Phillip Garrido.


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