Garridos plead guilty to Dugard kidnapping

April 28, 2011 5:47:29 PM PDT
There was a courtroom surprise in the Jaycee Dugard kidnapping case. The couple who kidnapped and held Dugard captive for 18 years struck a plea deal that will likely send them to prison for the rest of their lives. Phillip Garrido faces 431 years to life while his wife could serve 36 years to life.

Because Phillip Garrido pleaded guilty, his wife got a lighter sentence for doing the same. Her attorney says she is very sorry for what she did.

Nancy Garrido, 55, tried to fight back tears as she admitted to kidnapping and aiding and abetting in the rape of Jaycee Dugard. At one point, a bailiff handed her tissue so she could wipe away tears while in handcuffs. She faces 36 years to life in prison, with a remote chance she could be paroled after 31 years.

"From the get-go she said, 'Just do the best you can, Mr. Tapson, because I don't want to put Jaycee and the kids through an actual trial,'" said Stephen Tapson, Nancy Garrido's attorney.

Her husband, Phillip Garrido, 60, faces 431 years to life after pleading guilty to 14 counts of kidnapping, rape and lewd acts with a child. The previously convicted sex offender won't get out of prison.

In a statement, Dugard, now 30 years old, said; "I'm relieved that Phillip and Nancy Garrido have finally acknowledged their guilt and confessed to their crimes against me and my family."

Dugard was only 11 years old back in June of 1991 when the Garrido's snatched her off the street from her South Lake Tahoe neighborhood and kept her prisoner in their backyard in Antioch for nearly two decades before she was rescued in 2009. Phillip fathered her two daughters during her captivity. Dugard was expected to testify at the trial that supposed to start this August.

"Jaycee's courage and willingness to confront her abductors directly led to the defendants' plea and life sentences," said El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson.

Prosecutors also noted Dugard may not have been the only forced to re-live the ordeal in court. Had the trial gone ahead, the defense might have also subpoenaed her daughters.

"As a mother, the practical reality, should her children be called and drug into all of this, was something I don't think any mother in her right mind would want to see happen," said Pierson.

Sentencing is June 2. It's usually a time when victims can make impact statement, but it's unclear whether Dugard will be there to make one.


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