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Parole laws allowed Garrido to serve only 10 1/2 years, official says

September 1, 2009 |  1:09 pm

Federal parole laws at the time allowed Jaycee Lee Dugard’s alleged kidnapper to serve only 10 1/2 years of a 50-year sentence for a 1976 kidnapping, a parole commission spokesman said today.

Garrido was convicted of abducting Katherine Callaway in South Lake Tahoe in 1976 and driving her to Reno, a federal offense. He also pleaded guilty to a Nevada state rape charge.

Thomas W. Hutchison, a spokesman for the U.S. Commission on Parole, said the law at the time made Garrido eligible for federal parole after 10 years. For sentences 30 years or longer, a convict had to serve at least one third of 30 years. Federal parole was abolished in November 1987, but that applied only to crimes committed after that date.

The federal commission would have held a hearing and considered the rape as well as the kidnapping before paroling Garrido, the spokesman said. Hutchison said he did not know why the commission decided to parole Garrido at the time.

Former Assistant U.S. Atty. Leland Lutfy, who prosecuted the kidnapping case, said Monday that he was “amazed” at how little time Garrido served.

“It makes no sense to me,” he said in an interview.

But Hutchison said the parole board acted according to the law at the time.

Garrido served his kidnapping sentence from June 1977 to January 1988, when he was transferred from a federal prison to a Nevada prison to serve time for the rape, a Nevada corrections spokeswoman said. Nevada had sentenced Garrido to five years to life for the rape, to run concurrently with the federal sentence.

Garrido was paroled to California on Aug. 26, 1988, three years before he allegedly kidnapped Dugard.

-- Maura Dolan