Prosecutor: Evidence in Dugard case ‘overwhelming’
Associated Press Writer
PLACERVILLE, Calif. (AP) – Prosecutors have amassed an overwhelming amount of evidence against a California man charged with kidnapping, raping and holding Jaycee Dugard captive for nearly two decades, a prosecutor said Thursday.
In addition, information has been uncovered that could mitigate the guilt of his wife and co-defendant Nancy Dugard, El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson said during a court hearing.
“We have an overwhelming volume of evidence to prove each and every charge” against Phillip Garrido, the prosecutor said.
Outside court, public defender Susan Gellman, who represents Phillip Garrido, offered a terse response to the claim.
“That’s his take on the evidence,” Gellman said.
The couple has pleaded not guilty to rape and kidnapping.
Pierson did not provide further details on the evidence at the hearing.
Stephen Tapson, the court-appointed lawyer who represents Nancy Garrido, has said he plans to argue that his client was under her husband’s control when Dugard was abducted from her South Lake Tahoe street in 1991 then raped and held captive for 18 years.
“To the extent that evidence exists, and we believe it does exist,” prosecutors would make it available to Tapson, Pierson said without elaborating.
During the hearing, defense lawyers demanded copies of videotaped interviews that child abuse investigators conducted last summer with Dugard and her two daughters fathered by Phillip Garrido. The girls are now 12 and 15.
Pierson told Judge Douglas Phimister the information the defense was likely to glean from having the videotaped interviews of Dugard and her children was not worth the potential risk to the family’s privacy.
The judge eventually ruled the defense could obtain copies of Dugard’s interview but could only review the girls’ interviews at the prosecutor’s office.
Dugard has made photos and a home movie showing herself, her mother and her stepsister available to People Magazine and ABC News but has not granted any media interviews.
Gellman argued that she was entitled to review the tapes at her convenience and not on a schedule dictated by the district attorney.
Prosecutors have provided transcripts of the interviews, but “I can’t get a flavor from a transcript of what someone is saying and how they are saying it,” she said.
Phimister also prohibited both the Garridos and their respective attorneys from trying to communicate with Dugard and her daughters or to obtain their address and telephone number.
Pierson requested the protective order in February, claiming it was necessary because Phillip Garrido was trying to manipulate Dugard through comments relayed through Gellman to the lawyer representing Dugard at the time.
Dugard’s new attorney, Shawn Chapman Holley, informed the judge last week that neither Dugard nor the girls, whom she also is representing, want any contact with the Garridos.
Gellman told Phimister the protective order was unnecessary.
“It is clear to me (she) does not want to be contacted. I am not going to contact her,” Gellman said.
She added, however, that preventing her from contacting Holley “would impede me from doing my job.”
Phimister said his order would not bar the defense from reaching out to Dugard’s lawyer.
During a closed hearing Thursday morning, Phimister for a second time denied a request by the Garridos for in-jail visits. The judge did grant the couple, who have been jailed separately and allowed to speak by phone twice since then, two more monthly phone calls.
Judge Phimister also scheduled a preliminary hearing for Oct. 7.
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office is searching for South Lake Tahoe resident Amy Riemer.