PLACERVILLE, Calif. (CBS13/AP) – The District Attorney prosecuting a Northern California couple accused of holding Jaycee Lee Dugard captive in their backyard for more than 18 years is speaking out, and he’s mincing not words.
Lawyer Stephen Tapson, who represents defendant Nancy Garrido, says his client wouldn’t be changing her plea to guilty in time for today’s hearing because the last offer from the El Dorado County district attorney still had her serving a prison sentence of 180 years to life in exchange.
Tapson, who has publicly said Phillip and Nancy have, made full confessions in hopes that Nancy could reach a plea deal where she would eventually be paroled and not spend the rest of her life in jail.
But today, District Attorney Vern Pierson released a statement on the plea deal negotiations after Tapson questioned Pierson’s “lack of compassion” for his client Nancy Garrido. Pierson said his “lack of compassion comes from my awareness of many disgusting facts concerning Nancy Garrido’s personal involvement in this case.”
Garrido and her husband stand accused of kidnapping Dugard, now 30, when she was an 11-year-old girl, and held her captive in the backyard of their Antioch home. Philip and Nancy have been charged with 18 felony counts, which include false imprisonment, rape and child pornography.
Pierson goes on to counter Tapson’s assertion that Nancy was “like a mother” to Jaycee and his claim that Nancy was not an active participant.
“We would like Nancy Garrido and her attorney to ask themselves what type of “mother” would marry a convicted rapist and kidnapper in Leavenworth prison, then assist in videotaping young children in parks for years, then assist in the abduction an innocent 11 year old girl off the street, and then allow years and years of sexual assaults?,“ said Pierson
Pierson further details some of Nancy’s alleged crimes ending with an answer to Tapson’s question about compassion saying “No, I don’t think that Nancy Garrido deserves my compassion.”
Nancy Garrido has pleaded not guilty. Criminal proceedings were suspended against Phillip Garrido for several months while he was evaluated as competent to stand trial. He is scheduled to enter his plea on Thursday.
Speculation that the case against them would be settled soon without a trial began circulating two-and-a-half weeks ago after Tapson told reporters that plea negotiations had opened with the couple giving full confessions to El Dorado detectives.
At that time, Tapson said the El Dorado County district attorney was talking about more than 241 years to life for Nancy Garrido and 440 years to life for Phillip Garrido, a convicted rapist who was on parole when Dugard was snatched from a school bus stop in 1991.
Tapson said prosecutors had hoped the couple would provide during their February interviews information about or confessions in a number of unsolved child kidnappings and murders of prostitutes in Northern California.
Since they did not, there has been little movement in the plea discussions, he said. The 180-year offer for his client, who has admitted pulling the young Dugard into a car driven by her husband but denied participating in any sex crimes, came last Friday, Tapson said.
He said prosecutors now were talking about a prison term in the neighborhood of 500 years for Phillip Garrido.
“The DA wants to say, ‘I put the Garridos away for 5,000 years,”‘ Tapson said.
A plea bargain would allow Dugard and the two daughters she bore Phillip Garrido as a teenager to avoid having to testify before her alleged abductors. Dugard is scheduled to publish her memoirs in September, but has sought privacy since being freed a year-and-a-half ago.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)