Nation/World

In brief: Pair plead guilty in Dugard kidnap

Placerville, Calif. – A married couple charged with kidnapping Jaycee Dugard when she was 11 and holding her captive for nearly 20 years pleaded guilty to their crimes Thursday under an agreement that calls for life sentences.

Phillip Garrido, 60, and his wife, Nancy, 55, entered their pleas in an El Dorado County courtroom. They faced 29 charges of kidnapping and sexual assault.

Phillip Garrido repeatedly raped Dugard and fathered two daughters with her while confining her to a backyard warren of tents and soundproof sheds in their rural home in an unincorporated section of Antioch, Calif.

Under the plea deal, Phillip Garrido will be sentenced on June 2, with a maximum possible sentence of 431 years to life in prison.

Nancy Garrido, who helped snatch the girl in 1991 and later helped deliver the babies her husband fathered with Dugard, pleaded guilty in return for a sentence of 25 years to life, in addition to 11 more years.

Settlement OK’d for Indian farmers

Washington – A federal judge has approved a $680 million settlement between the Agriculture Department and American Indian farmers who say they were denied loans because of discrimination.

The two sides agreed on the deal last year subject to court approval. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan approved the terms Thursday.

Individuals who can prove discrimination could receive up to $250,000 from the government.

The agreement also includes $80 million in farm debt forgiveness for the Indian plaintiffs and a series of initiatives to try to alleviate racism against American Indians and other minorities in rural farm loan offices.

The lawsuit, named after George and Marilyn Keepseagle of Fort Yates, N.D., was filed in 1999 and contends Indian farmers and ranchers lost hundreds of millions of dollars over several decades because they were denied USDA loans that instead went to their white neighbors. The government settled a similar lawsuit filed by black farmers more than a decade ago and has offered to settle other suits brought against USDA by Hispanic and women farmers.



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