Published June 02, 2011
PLACERVILLE, Calif. – Jaycee Dugard refused to "waste another second" of her life in the presence of the married couple she said stole her life.
She didn't want to be in a northern California courtroom Thursday as 60-year-old Phillip Garrido, the serial sex offender who kidnapped, raped and held her captive for 18 years, was ordered to spend the rest of his life in prison and his wife, Nancy, 55, was given a decades-long sentence.
The feelings the 31-year-old victim had never been able to express while she was held prisoner did make it into court.
"I chose not to be here today because I refuse to waste another second of my life in your presence," Dugard said in a statement read aloud by her mother, the first public comments about her experience since police found her 22 months ago. "As I think of all of those years I am angry because you stole my life and that of my family."
"Everything you have ever done to me has been wrong and someday I hope you can see that," she wrote, directing her words to Phillip Garrido. "I hated every second of everyday of 18 years because of you and the sexual perversion you forced on me."
Her mother had her own words for the couple: "The only satisfaction I know is that you will never lay eyes on my daughter again."
Dugard was 11 when she was abducted by the couple as her stepfather watched her walk toward a school bus near her South Lake Tahoe home in June 1991. They held her captive in a secret backyard compound. She gave birth to two daughters, the first when she was 14, fathered by Phillip Garrido.
The couple, dressed in orange jumpsuits, made no eye contact with anyone and kept their heads down as the letter was read.
Phillip Garrido's lawyer read a statement on his behalf in court, saying that he agreed with Dugard and did not expect any leniency.
"He has accepted responsibility for his actions and he has done this without any expectation of leniency and has done this because he wanted to spare everyone, especially Miss Dugard and her children, a trial," lawyer Susan Gellman said.
Gellman urged the judge to impose a lighter sentence, citing what she described as Garrido's "significant mental health issues."
Judge Douglas Phimister revealed several new details about Dugard's abduction, saying that Phillip Garrido used a Taser to subdue her and threatened to stun her again if she tried to escape.
"Basically what you did was, you took a human being and turned them into a chattel, a piece of furniture, to be used by you at your whim," the judge said. "You reinvented slavery, that's what you did."
Phimister said the Garridos had "gone shopping" for a young girl to abduct the day they snatched Dugard.
The judge also accused Phillip Garrido of feigning mental illness in the days before he was arrested by telling people that he was able to speak to God through a black box. He said Garrido did this because he was finding it increasingly difficult to keep Dugard and her daughters in the "cocoon" he created.
"This is the potential problem you ran into when the family unit you believed existed started to fall apart," Phimister said.
The judge also marveled that Garrido was able to get paroled from federal prison for a 1976 rape and kidnapping conviction after only 11 years, saying the defendant had been able to work the penal system to his advantage.
Phimister said Garrido continued fooling psychologists, psychiatrists and parole officers in the years he held Dugard and had even persuaded probation officers who prepared his presentencing report that he posed only a low-to-moderate risk as a future sexual predator.
"I think Mr. Garrido qualifies as a poster child for a sexual predator," the judge quipped, saying he was disregarding the probation report.
As the judge spoke, Garrido remained motionless and stared straight ahead without speaking.
Phimister imposed the maximum possible sentence of 431 years to life on Garrido. The judge said he recognized that Garrido had psychological problems but said he thought the sentence he worked out was appropriate.
Garrido had pleaded guilty to kidnapping and 13 sexual assault charges, including rape and committing lewd acts captured on video.
His plea was part of a deal with prosecutors that saw Nancy Garrido sentenced to 36 years to life after pleading guilty to kidnapping and rape. The deal was designed, in part, to spare Dugard and her children from having to testify at a trial.
Her defense lawyer, Stephen Tapson, read a statement for her. "Being sorry is not enough. Words cannot express my remorse for what I did. I stole her childhood," the statement said. "When I walk by a mirror, I hate what I see."
After Nancy Garrido was sentenced, the judge rejected her lawyer's request that she be allowed to see her husband sentenced and ordered her removed from the courtroom. She said "I love you" to Phillip Garrido as sheriff's deputies whisked her away.
Prosecutors have said that Dugard spent the first one-and-a-half years after her kidnapping locked in a backyard shed. Then, she was confined to a series of tents she would come to share with the daughters and delivered by his wife.
She did not leave the backyard for the first four years after her abduction.
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.
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.
Dugard, who has written a memoir set to be published next month, has strived to preserve her privacy since she was found.
Her mother, Terry Probyn, told the Garridos in her court comments that Dugard's daughters, ages 16 and 13, "know what you did to their mother. They realize your backyard was a prison and understand your filthy, despicable secret. They are aware that they have been deceived and I am here to tell you that there is no love lost."
In her own statement, Dugard said she was doing well now.
And she told the Garridos: "You do not matter anymore."