Jaycee Dugard's kidnappers sentenced to prison
Nearly 20 years after Jaycee Lee Dugard was abducted while walking to a school bus stop, the couple who pleaded guilty in her kidnapping and rape were sentenced Thursday to prison terms that could keep them behind bars for the rest of their lives.
Phillip Garrido, a 60-year-old convicted rapist, was sentenced to 431 years to life in prison. His 55-year-old wife Nancy was sentenced to 36 years to life in prison.
In recommending that Garrido receive a sentence of 431 years to life in prison, El Dorado County Dist. Atty. Vern Pierson described the serial rapist as “a sexual predator who stole the childhood and innocence from an 11-year-old child. Defendant Garrido’s actions caused her mother Terry Probyn to have to endure an 18-year-long nightmare.”
Before the Garridos' sentencing Thursday in a Placerville courtroom, a tearful Probyn addressed the court. "How could someone take away the one person in the world I loved so deeply? Where is she? Is she hungry? Is she cold? Is she hurt? My baby was gone and all my dreams turned to nightmares. She was a vulnerable child and I was unable to help her.
"During 18 years away, I could hear her crying, not with my ears, but with my heart. I could feel her pain, not with my body, but with my heart.... I lived in hell on earth. It was you Nancy Garrido and Phillip Garrido that broke my heart."
Probyn then read a statement from her daughter, who did not attend the hearing: "To Phillip Garrido, I hated every second of every day of 18 years because of you. To you Nancy, I have nothing to say."
Before sentencing Phillip Garrido, Judge Douglas C. Phimister said the "defendant lacks a soul. What you have done is beyond horrible. May you think long and hard about what you did."
Dugard, now 31, was walking to a bus stop in view of her South Lake Tahoe home on June 10, 1991, when she was kidnapped in front of her horrified stepfather. Garrido was driving the car, and Nancy snatched the child. According to court documents, they drove immediately to Antioch, a suburb east of San Francisco, where they imprisoned Dugard in a backyard warren of tents and sheds for 18 years.
She was locked in one of the backyard buildings for a year and a half as a “prisoner,” Pierson said in his statement. She did not leave the backyard for the first four years after the abduction.
“Dugard was impregnated by Phillip Garrido when she was 13 years old and had her first child at the age of 14,” Pierson said. She “was again impregnated by Phillip Garrido when she was 16 and had her second child at the age of 17.
Stephen Tapson, Nancy’s attorney, has long argued that his client was not involved in “any of the sexual stuff.” She delivered Dugard’s daughters and “cooperated with him under his authority, under his thumb,” he said after an earlier hearing.
The case drew international attention after Dugard and her daughters were discovered in August 2009. After pleading not guilty to multiple charges of rape and kidnapping, the Garridos agreed to a plea deal in late April that would spare Dugard from testifiying against them.
Dugard has written a memoir titled “A Stolen Life,” which will be released in July.
---Maria L. La Ganga in Placerville, Calif.
Photo: Phillip and Nancy Garrido are shown in April 7 file photos during a hearing in their case Placerville, Calif. Credit: Max Whittaker / Reuters
Photo: Family photo of Jaycee Lee Dugard before she disappeared in 1991. Credit: Associated Press