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Jaycee Dugard kidnapper gets life in prison

An officer prepares to escort Phillip Garrido out of the courtroom after receiving his sentence in Placerville
An officer prepares to escort Phillip Garrido out of the courtroom after receiving his sentence in Placerville

PLACERVILLE, Calif (Reuters) - The California man who abducted 11-year-old Jaycee Lee Dugard in 1991 and held her captive for 18 years was sentenced on Thursday to life in prison.

Phillip Garrido, 60, bowed his head but showed little reaction as he was sentenced following an emotional hearing in which Dugard's tearful mother read a statement from her now-31-year-old daughter.

In the statement, Dugard said that Garrido had stolen her life and that of her family.

Garrido was sentenced by El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Douglas Phimister to 431 years to life in prison. Phimister sentenced Nancy Garrido to 36 years to life in prison.

Phillip Garrido pleaded guilty on April 28 to kidnapping and multiple counts of sexual assault. Nancy Garrido, 55, pleaded guilty to one count each of kidnapping and rape by force.

Nancy Garrido's defense attorney, Stephen Tapson, addressed the court on his client's behalf, apologizing for her role in the case.

"I told Jaycee that my client stole her life," Tapson said in a telephone interview following the hearing.

"Every time she looks in the mirror she doesn't like what she sees because she committed such an evil act," he said. "Words cannot properly express how she feels and obviously she would take it back if she could."

Tapson said that his client was under the hold of Phillip Garrido, which he likened to Stockholm Syndrome.

"Your readers have to understand that she loved these kids like they were her own, both Jaycee and (Jaycee's) kids," Tapson said.

"They had a family relationship at the end there, Jaycee was working in the business (that Garrido ran)," he said. "There was a loving relationship between Jaycee and her kids and Mr. and Mrs. Garrido."

Dugard was snatched from a street near her South Lake Tahoe home on June 10, 1991, as she walked to a school bus stop and not seen or heard from for nearly two decades before she was discovered living with the Garridos in 2009.

Her stunning rescue in 2009, at the age of 29, made international headlines.

Prosecutors say Phillip Garrido kept Dugard hidden for much of that time in a squalid compound of tents and sheds behind his Northern California home, fathering two girls with her when she was still a teen.

They were rescued after Phillip Garrido aroused suspicions while proselytizing with Dugard's daughters on the University of California, Berkeley campus.

Dugard's family received a $20 million settlement in 2009 through a state victims' compensation fund.

The California inspector general found that state officials failed to properly supervise Garrido after his release from a 10-year prison term for a 1976 rape, overlooking a series of parole violations that should have led to his earlier capture.

(Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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