PLACERVILLE (CBS13) – Kidnap victim Jayce Lee Dugard says she’s “relieved” after Phillip and Nancy Garrido pleaded guilty to kidnapping and holding her captive for 18 years.
The pair entered the plea this morning in a hearing scheduled just this morning. Two hours later, Jaycee Lee Dugard released a statement through her spokesperson saying “I’m relieved that Phillip and Nancy Garrido have finally acknowledged their guilt and confessed to their crime against me and my family.”
Phillip Garrido pleaded guilty to kidnapping and to all the sexual assault counts alleged in the original indictment, as well as to all priors and enhancements. He will be sentenced on June 2 with a maximum possible sentence of 431 years to life in prison.
Nancy Garrido pleaded guilty to kidnapping, to on to one count of rape by force, and to various enhancements, including the “One Strike” rape law. She will also be sentenced on June 2. She is facing 36 years to life which is the maximum possible sentence for the kidnapping charges based upon the sentencing laws in 1991.
Both Phillip and Nancy waived their right to appeal.
The plea deal spares Jaycee, her daughters, ages 13 and 16, and the rest of their family to trauma of having to testify at a jury trial. Although in a statement released after the plea agreement was announced, El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson said “were it not for Jaycee’s strong cooperation with our office and the prosecution of the Garridos, we would not have been able to firmly stand by our position to take this case to jury trial. Jaycee’s courage and willingness to confront her abductors in court directly led to the Defendants’ plea and life sentences.”
Pierson also thanked all those who helped in the investigation and prosecution including the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department, NASA, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Concord Police Department, UC Berkeley Police Department, Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department, Pittsburg Police Department, Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, Hayward Police Department, as wells as many of the members of the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office.
The Garridos kidnapped Dugard when she was 11, confined her to the backyard of the couple’s Antioch home, which had been shielded by shrubbery and a false fence, and outfitted with tents and sheds.
While still a teenager, Dugard gave birth there to two daughters fathered by Phillip Garrido and delivered by Nancy Garrido. Dugard is now 30.
Phillip Garrido had been under parole supervision because of a 1977 conviction for raping a 25-year-old Katie Callaway Hall. He was released from prison in 1988 and placed under federal supervision until 1999, when California took over.
Hall issued this statement about the Garridos’ guilty plea.
“I am extremely happy that my ordeal with Phillip Garrido is finally coming to a close. 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.
“I hope that my continued presence at these hearings has helped to support this case in some way. I know that it helped me to reclaim something that Phillip Garrido stole from me 34 years ago.
“I believe that Jaycee’s willingness to testify was the deciding factor, and I respect her tremendously for having that strength of character.
Now our families can move on with our healing.”
According to an investigation by the Office of Inspector General, mistakes in how California monitored Garrido began right away. Among them, he was wrongly classified as a low-risk offender, which meant looser controls on him, and one agent did not try to confirm the identity of a young girl he saw at the house while on a visit, instead trusting Garrido’s claim that she was his niece.
The secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Matthew Cate, has acknowledged serious errors in the handling of the case.
Dugard’s identity was discovered when she, her daughters and Garrido and his wife went to the office of Phillip Garrido’s parole agent. Dugard said her name was Alyssa. Investigators grew suspicious of the relationship between Garrido, Dugard and the daughters and separated them into different rooms, according to the report. Garrido told another agent that Dugard and the girls were his nieces.
At one point, Dugard “explained that she was from Minnesota and had been hiding for five years from an abusive husband, the report said. “She was terrified of being found, she said, and that was the reason she could not give the parole agent any information.”
Garrido eventually told the parole agent he had kidnapped and raped Dugard, the report said, an account later confirmed by Dugard, who then identified herself.