Phillip Garrido expected to plead guilty in kidnapping of Jaycee Lee Dugard, attorney says
Accused kidnapper and rapist Phillip Garrido is expected to plead guilty to snatching an 11-year-old schoolgirl from her South Lake Tahoe area street, holding her captive for nearly two decades and fathering her two daughters, according to an attorney involved in the case.
Garrido and his wife, Nancy, face 29 charges of kidnapping and sexual assault in the 1991 abduction of Jaycee Lee Dugard, now 30. Nancy has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and Phillip is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Placerville.
That’s when he is expected to plead guilty, said Stephen Tapson, Nancy Garrido’s defense attorney.
“He’s confessed to it, so he’s pleading guilty and he doesn’t want to put Jaycee through the trial,” Tapson said in an interview. In addition, Tapson said, Garrido is hoping to gain a measure of mercy for his wife.
Susan Gellman, Phillip Garrido’s attorney, did not return calls for comment. El Dorado County Dist. Atty. Vern Pierson declined to comment on the case, which has aroused international attention since Dugard and her daughters surfaced in the East Bay town of Antioch nearly two years ago, where they had been held captive in a warren of backyard sheds.
Although Superior Court Judge Douglas Phimister is not expected to sentence Garrido on Thursday if he does plead guilty, the 60-year-old convicted rapist faces hundreds of years in jail, Tapson said.
“It was 530 years to life, the last I counted,” Tapson said. “But in essence, he’s going away for a half century, anyway.”
Nancy Garrido, however, plans to go to trial, with the trial date to be set Thursday. Tapson said Phillip Garrido will testify on his wife’s behalf during the proceedings, which are expected to last several weeks.
-- Maria L. La Ganga in San Francisco
Photo: Phillip Garrido, who faces multiple charges in the 1991 kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard, is seen during an arraignment hearing at the El Dorado County Superior Court in Placerville, Calif., in March 2011. Credit: Associated Press