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Kidnap suspect 'will plead guilty'

A lawyer in the case of a northern California girl held captive in a backyard compound for 18 years said he expects defendant Phillip Garrido to plead guilty to all charges and his wife to go to trial unless she gets a better plea deal.

Lawyer Stephen Tapson, who represents defendant Nancy Garrido, said her husband is likely to make the guilty plea on Thursday at a pre-trial conference.

"Unless some hitch develops, I'm 99% sure Phil will 'plead to the sheet' and possibly be sentenced at the same time if (the) judge has figured out the correct number of hundreds of years," Mr Tapson said, explaining he learned of the development from discussions with a lawyer for Phillip Garrido and the prosecutor in the case.

Public defender Susan Gellman, who represents Phillip Garrido, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment. El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson declined to comment.

The Garridos are each charged with 18 felony counts of false imprisonment, rape and child pornography. Nancy Garrido has pleaded not guilty. Phillip Garrido, a convicted sex offender, has not yet entered a plea.

They are accused of kidnapping 11-year-old Jaycee Dugard from outside her South Lake Tahoe home in 1991.

The Garridos held Ms Dugard and her two daughters fathered by Phillip Garrido captive until their arrest in August 2009, prosecutors said.

Ms Dugard's case revealed problems with California's system for monitoring convicted sex offenders after it was determined that parole agents had missed numerous clues and chances to find her.

Ms Dugard, now 30, received a 20 million US dollar settlement under which the state acknowledged repeated mistakes were made by parole agents responsible for monitoring Phillip Garrido. The state has since increased monitoring of sex offenders.

Phillip Garrido's maximum sentence in the case would be 563 years to life.


From Belfast Telegraph