Sentencing set for couple that held woman 18 years |

Sentencing set for couple that held woman 18 years

Associated Press

This is an undated file family photo released Aug. 27, 2009 by Carl Probyn of his stepdaughter, Jaycee Lee Dugard who went missing in 1991. Serial sex offender Phillip Garrido and his wife, Nancy, are expected to be sentenced Thursday June 2, 2011 for abducting Jaycee Dugard in 1991 and concealing her and the two daughters she bore after she was raped. (AP Photo/Carl Probyn, File)

PLACERVILLE, Calif. (AP) – The legal saga surrounding a California woman who was kidnapped as a girl and kept hidden for more than 18 years is reaching an emotional conclusion – Jaycee Dugard has a chance to tell the court about the ordeal before her captors are sentenced.

Serial sex offender Phillip Garrido, 60, and his wife, Nancy, 55, were to be sentenced Thursday for abducting Jaycee Dugard when she was 11 and concealing her in a secret backyard compound along with the two daughters she bore after Phillip Garrido repeatedly raped her.

The two defendants pleaded guilty to kidnapping and rape in late April under a deal that calls for Phillip Garrido to receive a prison term of 431 years to life. He also pleaded guilty to committing lewd acts captured on video.

Nancy Garrido is expected to get 36 years to life. Both have waived their right to appeal.

The deal was designed, in part, to spare Dugard and her children from having to testify at a trial.

Now 31, Dugard has been given an opportunity to present El Dorado County Superior Judge Douglas Phimister with an oral or written statement about her experience. Prosecutors typically encourage crime victims and their families to prepare detailed victim impact statements so courts can factor their suffering into sentencing decisions.

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Dugard, who has written a memoir set to be published next month, has strived to preserve her privacy in the 22 months since she was identified during a chance meeting with Phillip Garrido’s parole officer.

District Attorney Vern Pierson has not said if she will attend Thursday’s hearing or instead have her statement read into the record for her.

In a presentencing memo justifying a sentence of hundreds of years for Phillip Garrido, who was on parole for a 1976 rape and kidnapping when Dugard was taken, Pierson said that Dugard spent the first one-and-a-half years after her kidnapping locked in a backyard shed. She did not leave the backyard for the first four years after her abduction.

“Phillip Garrido should have spent the rest of his life in prison for the crimes he committed in 1976. He never should have been allowed back on the street to even have the opportunity to commit the crimes he committed in this case,” Pierson said. Garrido “stole the childhood and innocence from an 11-year-old child.”

The Garridos and their defense lawyers also have an opportunity to address Judge Phimister, but attorney Susan Gellman, who represents Phillip Garrido, said he won’t have a statement.

Defendants often use sentencing hearings to express remorse or provide biographical information that could persuade a court to impose a lighter sentence.

Dugard was grabbed by Nancy Garrido from the South Lake Tahoe street where her family lived and forced into a car driven by Phillip Garrido on June 10, 1991. The abduction occurred as Dugard’s stepfather watched her walk to a school bus stop.

Authorities have said the couple drove the girl 168 miles south to their home in Antioch and held her prisoner there for the next 18 years, four months and 16 days. At first, she was locked in the shed then confined to a series of tents she would come to share with the daughters fathered by Phillip Garrido and delivered by his wife.

The defendants were arrested in August 2009 after Phillip Garrido inexplicably brought his ragtag clan to a meeting with his parole officer, who had no idea the convicted rapist had been living with a young woman and two girls he described as his nieces.

Dugard at first tried to conceal her identity, telling authorities she was hiding from an abusive husband in Minnesota and giving her name as Alyssa, Garrido eventually acknowledged kidnapping her, and Dugard disclosed her identity.

Her reappearance proved a costly embarrassment for California parole officials, who had to explain how a parolee under intensive supervision could live with his victim and have children with her undetected.

The situation existed despite repeated surprise home visits and a woman telling sheriff’s deputies in 2006 that her sex offender neighbor was living with small children.

The state last year paid Dugard a $20 million settlement under which officials acknowledged repeated mistakes were made by parole agents responsible for monitoring Garrido. California has since increased monitoring of sex offenders.