PLACERVILLE, El Dorado County (CBS SF) – Phillip Garrido, the man who is accused of kidnapping and raping Jaycee Lee Dugard in 1991, has agreed to a plea deal, one of the lawyers in the case said Monday.
Phillip’s wife, Nancy Garrido, is also facing kidnapping and rape charges. According to her attorney, Stephen Tapson, Phillip Garrido is set to plead guilty later this week to all charges in the case – but his wife will still go to trial unless she gets a better deal.
“She wanted a reasonable sentence, which the district attorney has rejected now,” Tapson said.
Public defender Susan Gellman, who represents Phillip Garrido, did not immediately return calls seeking comment — although she had perviously acknowleged there was no way her 60-year-old client, a convicted sex offender, could ever hope to win release from custody.
El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson declined to comment, but Tapson said he learned of the development from discussions with Gellman and Pierson.
Tapson said Phillip Garrido could also be sentenced after entering the guilty plea during a court hearing scheduled for Thursday. His maximum sentence in the case would be 563 years to life.
The Garridos were each charged with 18 felony counts including false imprisonment, rape, lewd conduct with a minor and child pornography.
They are accused of kidnapping Dugard at age 11 from South Lake Tahoe and holding her captive in the backyard of their Antioch home until their arrests in August 2009.
Last month, it was revealed by Tapson that the Garridos had given “full confessions” to kidnapping Dugard and holding her captive for 18 years, which legal experts at the time said indicated plea negotiations were under way.
The admissions likely were made with the stipulation the statements could not be used directly against them as evidence. But the fact that Tapson and Gellman consented to the conversations with investigators at all indicated that they hoped to strike some sort of deal with El Dorado County prosecutors, legal anaylsts said.
Attorneys on all sides have said they wanted to avoid trial so Dugard did not have to testify. Phillip Garido’s guilty plea spares Dugard having to take the witness stand against him, but that now seems likely unavoidable in Nancy Garrido’s case.
“Nancy never wanted her to have to testify,” said Tapson. “She said that long ago.”
Tapson sought compassion for his 55-year-old client, but said the district attorney’s latest offer was 183 years to life in prison.
He said he would like a compromise sentence of 40 to 50 years in prison, which means Nancy Garrido could likely get out after 30 years.
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