Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Backyard Prisoner: The Story of Jaycee Dugard

**New Chapter: Plea Bargain

Jaycee Lee Dugard's long nightmare is finally over. Two years ago, she and her two daughters made it out of the nightmarish backyard compound that served as Jaycee Dugard's Bay Area prison for 18 years. Now their captors have confessed to kidnapping and sexual assault.

From left to right: Stephen Tapson, Nancy Garrido, Susan Gellman and and Phillip Garrido
From left to right: Stephen Tapson, Nancy Garrido,
Susan Gellman and and Phillip Garrido

On April 28, 2011, Phillip Garrido, 59, and Nancy Garrido, 55, both pleaded guilty to Dugard's kidnapping. Phillip Garrido also pleaded guilty to 13 sexual assault charges. His wife pleaded guilty to a single charge of aiding and abetting sexual assault.

Nancy Garrido's lawyer, Stephen Tapson, had previously insisted that her client had not committed any sexual acts against Dugard, and that any misconduct on her part was due solely to Phillip Garrido 's masterful manipulation. After the plea, Tapson told reporters that when Dugard gave birth to her second child the Garridos changed their lives and built a model, loving family. The couple turned their hearts from crystal meth to God, Tapson said, and now Nancy Garrido wanted to do what was right for Dugard and the girls.

Phillip Garrido's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Susan Gellman, agreed that the couple had turned their lives around. She reminded press that the charges against her client detailed actions prior to his finding God in 1997. According to Gellman, Garrido now wanted to set things right by telling the truth, and, he hoped that his confession would garner an easier sentence for his wife.

Neither defense attorney addressed an incident three weeks prior, in which Phillip Garrido rejected a negotiated plea deal and, instead, pleaded not guilty. The Garridos each waived their rights to appeal, rendering these guilty pleas final.

Phillip Garrido's guilty plea will give him 431 years to life in prison, according to El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson. Any guilty pleas would likely have put Garrido in prison for life, as they would have confirmed violations of his parole agreement for the 1977 rape conviction.

Nancy Garrido will serve 36 years to life in prison. Should she live long enough, she will eventually be eligible for parole. She's a first-time offender, but the extraordinary circumstances of this case call for an especially harsh sentence.

Jaycee Dugard, recent
Jaycee Dugard, recent

Jaycee Dugard, now 30, has received $20 million from a California victims-compensation fund. The especially large payment is reportedly due to authorities' numerous failures to look into Garrido after complaints were made against him, or to investigate the suspicious readings his ankle GPS bracelet was reporting.

The Garridos' confessions will spare Dugard from having to testify at a jury trial. She will, however, soon detail her travails at the hands of the Garrido's in a new book to be published by Simon & Schuster.

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