PLACERVILLE, Calif. – Phillip and Nancy Garrido were sentenced to virtual life prison terms Thursday shortly after Jaycee Dugard excoriated the pair through her mother, capping a whirlwind case that captured hearts and imaginations worldwide after Dugard surfaced and revealed she spent nearly two decades sexually abused and held in captivity on the outskirts of Antioch, Calif.
“I hated every second of every day of 18 years because of you and the sexual perversion you forced on me,” Dugard wrote in letter, read by her mother in the packed courtroom.
Phillip Garrido, 60, received a sentence of 431 years to life in prison, while Nancy Garrido, 55, was sentenced to 36 years to life in prison, all in accordance with their guilty pleas made in April in a courtroom in El Dorado County, which encompasses the South Lake Tahoe neighborhood where Dugard was kidnapped in 1991.
At the nearly two-hour sentencing, Dugard’s mother, Terry Probyn, read what is the longest and most expressive commentary by Dugard to date:
“I chose not to be here today because I refuse to waste another second of my life in your presence,” Dugard wrote. “Phillip Garrido you are wrong. I could never say that to you before. … You are a liar and all of your so-called theories are wrong.”
“Nancy, to facilitate his behavior and trick young girls for his pleasure is evil,” Probyn continued, reading her daughter’s statement. “Phillip, I say that I have always been a thing for your own amusement. … For all the crimes you have both committed I hope you have as many sleepless nights as I did.
“Thankfully, I am doing well now and am no longer living in a nightmare. … You do not matter any more.”
As her statement was read, Nancy Garrido sobbed as she sat in an orange jumpsuit, while Phillip Garrido looked down and sat stoically.
Probyn then spoke for herself on the horror of losing her daughter and being forced to fear the worst.
“I thought I was going to go insane because I needed so desperately to hold her and protect her,” she said. “It was you, Nancy Garrido, and you, Phillip Garrido, that broke my heart. You took something that didn’t belong to you and hurt my baby. I hate you both.”
Before her sentencing, attorney Stephen Tapson read a statement on behalf of Nancy Garrido.
“Being sorry is not enough. Words cannot express the remorse for what I did. I loved the children. I loved Jaycee,” Nancy Garrido said through her attorney, and then she addressed Dugard herself. “I’m going off to spend my time in state prison. … I deserve every moment of it and I ask you to find it in your heart to forgive me.”
Phillip Garrido did not have a prepared statement, but his attorney, Susan Gellman, spoke on his behalf, saying he agreed with Dugard and her mother’s statements and that he has accepted responsibility for his actions without any expectation of leniency.
Gellman, however, told Judge Douglas Phimister he was not giving enough weight to Phillip’s mental health issues in his sentencing.
“I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist, and neither is this court,” Gellman said. “This is a sensational case and the sentence is sensational. One lifetime is enough.
“I’m not minimizing what was done in this case,” Gellman continued, noting that whatever the court decided would amount to a lifetime sentence because he is already on a lifetime federal parole for a prior rape and kidnapping conviction.
Her arguments fell on deaf ears.
“You took a human being and turned them into chattel,” Phimister said to Phillip Garrido. “You reinvented slavery.”
As conclusive as the sentences appeared, the story is not over: Dugard’s memoir, said to be written by the victim herself, is set for release in July. It is expected to fill in the blanks of how she survived a nightmare that included her systematic rape at the hands of Phillip Garrido and the experience of bearing and raising two daughters while in his clutches.
Since being freed, Dugard has been living in seclusion in Northern California with her daughters and mother. She received a $20 million settlement from the state.
State parole agents and local authorities were admonished for their failure to uncover the captivity.