The case against Phillip and Nancy Garrido came to a close today when they pleaded guilty to kidnapping 11-year-old Jaycee Dugard in 1991 and holding her captive for 18 years, during which time she was repeatedly raped and had two daughters. The new plea comes less than a month after they both entered not guilty pleas in a surprise move. Phillip Garrido is facing 431 years in prison, and Nancy could serve 35 years to life.
The case would have gone to trial in August, but District Attorney Vern Pierson says the Garridos took a plea deal that will spare Dugard the "grief and trauma" of a trial. She already testified before a grand jury in September, and Pierson said:
"Were it not for Jaycee's strong cooperation with our office and the prosecution of the Garridos, we would not have been able to firmly stand by our position to take this case to jury trial ... Jaycee's courage and willingness to confront her abductors in court directly led to the defendants' plea and life sentences."
Dugard, who is now 30, said in a statement that she's relieved the Garridos, "finally acknowledged their guilt and confessed to their crimes against me and my family."
Nancy Garrido's lawyer, Stephen Tapson (who once declared that she, "should be able to walk on the beach, probably with a walker, at some point in time before she dies") explained that the Garridos agreed to a plea deal after some charges were dropped against Nancy in exchange for Garrido pleading guilty to almost all charges. "She obviously committed a serious wrong," said Tapson, "but in her view now, she's made peace with God and wants to get on with life, what's left of it."
The Garridos have both wiaved their right to appeal and sentencing is scheduled for June 2. They're expected to spend the rest of their lives in prison, which will hopefully help Jaycee and her family "get on with life."