Monday, July 28, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Phillip Garrido pleads not guilty

PHILLIP GARRIDO listens to his attorney Susan Gellman in the Building C basement courtroom Thursday morning. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

Phillip Garrido with his attorney Susan Gellman in Department 7 Superior Court Thursday. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

By
From page A1 | April 7, 2011 |

In a surprising reversal of expected events, Phillip Garrido pleaded not guilty to the kidnapping, imprisonment and sexual assault of Jaycee Lee Dugard Thursday morning in an El Dorado County courthouse before a sea of reporters from across the country.

Earlier this week, Stephen Tapson, the defense attorney for Nancy Garrido,told the Mountain Democrat that Nancy’s husband, Phillip, would enter a guilty plea at the couple’s next hearing.

In the days following Tapson’s revelation, Susan Gellman, Phillip’s public defender, could not be reached for comment and El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson declined to discuss the matter.

With a throng of news media attending Thursday’s hearing, Gellman shocked the crowd by entering a not guilty plea on her client’s behalf.

Nancy Garrido also entered a not guilty plea after Superior Court Judge Douglas C. Phimister made several minor amendments to the grand jury indictment, which was used to formally charge the couple in September 2010.

After the hearing Tapson stepped up to a makeshift podium at the entrance Building C where the courtroom is located and addressed the crowd.

“I’m the one who unleashed the yellow jackets at the picnic,” he said.

Tapson, who had initially told reporters of the looming guilty plea, said a last-minute “hitch” led to Phillip Garrido’s actual entered plea.

Gellman, according to Tapson, raised a question Wednesday night over how the county’s grand jury was selected. He would not elaborate further.

Because of Gellman’s concerns, Phillip Garrido had no choice but to plead not guilty, Tapson said.

Whether Garrido would plead guilty or take his chances with a jury trial, Tapson would not say.

Tapson also criticized District Attorney Pierson for refusing to give his client a sentence he deemed reasonable, down from the proposed offer of more than 180 years to life in prison.

“Compassion is not in his vocabulary,” said Tapson.

Minutes later, Pierson spoke to reporters, saying Gellman’s motion to challenge the grand jury selection process was a “routine” maneuver used by defense attorneys.

Pierson was confident her motion would be denied and that the case would continue on.

When asked whether he would consider offering Nancy Garrido a more lenient sentence, Pierson said: “My responsibility is to see that these two are held accountable for the enormity of their actions.”

Gellman, who appeared exasperated, also fielded questions from the surprised press corps.

It was evident that she was not pleased with Tapson talking about Phillip Garrido.

“He should speak for his client,” she said.

Although the grand jury indictment was handed down last September, Gellman said she had not challenged its selection process because she had been wrapped up with her client’s competency issues.

“My job is to zealously advocate for my client,” she said. “That’s what I’m doing.”

Gellman acknowledged the likelihood that her client will spend the rest of his life in prison.

“But that doesn’t mean I roll over and play dead,” she said.

Phillip Garrido’s public defender was also critical of the district attorney’s recent letter lashing back at the notion that Nancy Garrido deserves mercy, saying Pierson was “having problems with his ethical responsibility.”

If the Garridos do indeed go to trial, it is expected to begin Aug. 1, the court announced Thursday. Attorneys believe it will last three to four weeks.

Tapson told reporters that Dugard, who has remained in seclusion since authorities found her and her daughters alive in 2009, would testify if a jury trial becomes necessary.

Phillip and Nancy Garrido are accused of kidnapping Jaycee Lee Dugard from near her South Lake Tahoe home in 1991, when she was 11. Prosecutors say she was held captive for 18 years and gave birth to two daughters fathered by Phillip Garrido.

The couple is due back in court May 5.

E-mail Jim Ratajczak at jratajczak@mtdemocrat.net or call 530-344-5069.

Comments

comments

.

News

 
County’s chief lawyer: No Brown Act violation

By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

General Plan workshop today

By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

 
Two growth control initiatives get green light

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

Sand Fire burns more than 4,000 acres

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Fatal accident in Camino

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Agricultural Crop and Livestock Report released

By Ross Branch | From Page: A3

 
35 people displaced in Tahoe hotel fire

By Tahoe Tribune | From Page: A3 | Gallery

.

Opinion

The balancing act: Toxic waste spreads

By Larry Weitzman | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Bee-ing silly

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
.

Letters

Want more water?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Refugee crisis

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Letter to Speaker of the House

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
GDPUD misinformation

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

At the crossroads

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
.

Sports

Under the Scoreboard: July 26, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
Schedule: July 28 – Aug. 2, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Roundup: July 26, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
Camp experience is ‘priceless’

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Speedway races cancelled

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
El Dorado doubles up on Pro Players

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Local spiker shines

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

 
Sports Scene: July 26, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

.

Prospecting

A beautiful day at Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony Farm

By Cathy Barsotti | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Foothill gourmet: Things get corny

By Donna Brown | From Page: B2

Bipolar Insights: From point A to point B

By Marcia Rose | From Page: B2

 
Cool time at Cowboys and Cornbread

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
As we were: Recreation district grows

By Ken Deibert | From Page: B4

Cantare names new director

By Cantare Chorale | From Page: B10

 
After 5 Club to meet

By Senior Day | From Page: B10

.

Essentials

DUI Log: June 25-July 9

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
Crime Log: July 14-16

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

Divorces

By Charlotte Sanchez-Kosa | From Page: A2Comments are off for this post

 
.

Obituaries

.

Real Estate

.

Comics

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8

American Profile Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Tuesday, July 29, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Horoscope, Monday, July 28, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8