Jaycee Dugard’s kidnappers finally pleaded guilty to kidnapping, raping and hiding Dugard in their house for 18 years, bringing a 20-year-old case closer to a just end. The kidnappers, Phillip and Nancy Garrido, kidnapped Jaycee Dugard while she was waiting for a school bus not too far from her home in South Lake Tahoe.
The married couple, who lives in Northern California, entered their pleas on April 28 in an El Dorado County courtroom. Garrido will get 431 years to life on charges of kidnapping and sexual assault. His 55-year-old wife will get 25 years to life, plus 11 more years.
The Jaycee Dugard case that horrified people across the world was discovered when authorities finally found Dugard in Garrido’s house, where the family was pretending that the pretty, blonde, Jaycee, was the oldest daughter. Another disturbing part of the situation was that Phillip Garrido fathered two daughters with Jaycee Dugard, who also lived as part of the family.
The plea deal was finally brokered after much negotiations and will save Jaycee Dugard and her daughters from testifying in court, an ordeal that Jaycee Dugard said she was ready for, but would have proved to be arduous for both her and her girls.
Although several agencies failed to get comments from the Garridos’ counsel, the Associated Press quoted Nancy Garrido’s defense lawyer, Stephen Tapson, as: “Obviously you don't like to plead your client guilty to a life sentence, but that's the best I could get and that's what she's willing to do…Unfortunately, it's going to probably be in a casket” when she finally leaves the prison."
Earlier, negotiations between Jaycee Dugard and her kidnappers had failed to make headway because the prosecutors had refused to drop any of the charges against Nancy Garrido. However, a breakthrough was made when the district attorney offered Nancy a maximum sentence of 11 years for kidnapping and 25 years to life for rape, maintained Deputy Public Defender Susan Gellman, who is representing Phillip. Gellman explained that even a “theoretical possibility of Nancy someday being released” is what made the couple opt for the deal.