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Phillip Garrido pleads not guilty to kidnapping Jaycee Lee Dugard

April 7, 2011 |  9:47 am

Accused kidnapper and rapist Phillip Garrido pleaded not guilty Thursday 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.

Garrido and his wife, Nancy, face 29 charges of kidnapping and sexual assault in the 1991 abduction of Jaycee Lee Dugard, now 30. Nancy Garrido has also pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Earlier this week, Stephen Tapson, Nancy Garrido's defense attorney, said Phillip Garrido was expected to plead guilty.

"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 Monday. In addition, Tapson said, Garrido was hoping to gain a measure of mercy for his wife.

El Dorado County Dist. Atty. Vern Pierson has declined to comment on the case, which has attracted international attention since Dugard and her daughters surfaced in the East Bay town of Antioch nearly two years ago. They had been held captive in a warren of backyard sheds.


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-- Maria L. La Ganga in Placerville

Photo: Phillip Garrido in court during his arraignment in Placerville, Calif., in August 2009. Credit:  Reuters