No compassion for wife of Jaycee Lee Dugard’s kidnapper, prosecutor says
Another court delay Thursday dashed speculation of possible guilty pleas from Phillip and Nancy Garrido, the couple accused of kidnapping and sexually tormenting Jaycee Lee Dugard and holding her captive for 18 years in their backyard compound in Northern California.
After a hearing in El Dorado County Superior Court, Dist. Atty. Vern Pierson criticized comments made by Nancy Garrido's defense attorney a few weeks ago, when he called for compassion for his client because Garrido was "like her mother" when Jaycee's children, fathered by Phillip Garrido, were born.
"Perhaps my alleged lack of compassion comes from my awareness of many disgusting facts concerning Nancy Garrido's personal involvement in this case,'' Pierson said in a statement.
Pierson said Nancy Garrido not only assisted her husband when he snatched Dugard off a South Tahoe street 18 years ago, but also helped imprison the girl in the couple's backyard and videotaped other young children to "provide her rapist husband with sexually perverse entertainment.''
The couple confessed to the crimes last month because Phillip Garrido, 59, hopes to negotiate a reduced sentenced for his wife, according to Stephen Tapson, Nancy's Garrido's attorney.
Tapson told the Associated Press that the last offer from the El Dorado County district attorney still had her serving a prison sentence of 180 years to life.
"Obviously if we go to trial and she loses, she goes to 500 and something years, so what's the difference?" Tapson said, adding that he was pushing for a prison term of 30 to 40 years.
Phillip Garrido would face a sentence of more than 500 years in prison under an offer from the prosecutor.
The Garridos married in 1981 at the U.S. penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., where Phillip was serving a 50-year sentence for a 1976 kidnapping and rape.
The discovery of Dugard, who gave birth to two daughters after being repeatedly raped, made international headlines two years ago, and the Garridos face nearly 30 counts of kidnapping, rape and false imprisonment. Dugard, now 30, was abducted by the Garridos when she was 11 years old.
The couple took her to Antioch, Calif., and kept her imprisoned in tents and soundproof shacks for 18 years. Phillip Garrido is accused of repeatedly raping the girl, sometimes videotaping the assaults, according to his grand jury indictment.
The prosecutor dismissed a comment from Nancy Garrido's attorney that she was an unwilling participant, noting that "she alone" helped keep Dugard prisoner for 42 days in 1993 when her husband was in federal custody on a parole violation.
Pierson also provided details of a 1993 incident in which Nancy Garrido lured a 5-year-old child into the couples' van and, while videotaping, enticed the child to bend over. It was one of many instances when Nancy videotaped children for her husband's sexual gratification, he said.
"No, I do not think that Nancy Garrido deserves my compassion,'' Pierson said.
The Garridos' next hearing is scheduled for April 7.
-- Phil Willon
Photo: Phillip Garrido in court. Credit: Associated Press.