Jaycee Dugard's Kidnapper: Insane or Master Manipulator?

Phillip Garrido's lawyer has filed a motion that claims her client - who is accused of kidnapping the California teen and imprisoning her for 18 years - is mentally ill, and potentially incapable of standing trial.
- The Betty Editors, BettyConfidential.com
In a move that has put a chill through the hearts of those seeking justice for Jaycee Dugard, Phillip Garrido's lawyer filed a 44-page motion yesterday that appears to be the beginning of an insanity defense in the case against Garrido and his wife, who are accused of kidnapping, imprisoning and sexually enslaving Jaycee for 18 years.

Read Jaycee Dugard's Magazine Cover: Too Much, Too Soon?

Prosecutors call Garrido a "master manipulator," but his attorney, Susan Gellman, says the District Attorney has failed to see the obvious: that Garrido has a serious mental illness.

"Phillip Garrido has been hearing voices of angels for years," Gellman said. To further support her claims that Garrido is insane, the motion includes pages and pages of Garrido's ramblings - on topics ranging from masturbation and marital sex to his invention of a "headphone amplification system" that enables others to witness the "phenomena" of him listening to angels.

Also included is an excerpt from his manifesto, entitled "Origin of Schizophrenia Revealed," which Garrido, 58, shopped to various law enforcement agencies - including the FBI - calling attention to himself that would ultimately lead to his arrest. "These are the acts of someone suffering from a serious mental illness," his lawyer argued.

Prosecutors say Phillip and Nancy Garrido abducted 11-year-old Jaycee Dugard outside her South Lake Tahoe, Calif., home on June 10, 1991 and held her captive as their sex slave for the next 18 years, during which time she bore two of her captor's children and was forced to live in a hidden backyard tented complex. She was identified in August 2009 and is now living with her children in an undisclosed location. Phillip and Nancy Garrido pled not guilty to all charges and are awaiting trial in El Dorado county prison.

In the weeks and days leading up to a pre-trial hearing scheduled for Friday, both sides have engaged in a back-and-forth filing of revelatory and impassioned motions, providing a preview of what is expected to be a dramatic and sensational trial.

A hearing slated for Friday afternoon will address three main issues of contention: the prosecutors' request for a protective order blocking the Garridos from contacting Jaycee and her family; the Garridos' request for visitation; the Garridos' request for discovery materials including information about the whereabouts of Jaycee (pictured above with her mom, Terry) and her two children, Starlet, 15, and Angel, 11.

Read The Woman Who Kidnapped Jaycee Dugard

The Garridos have been allowed to communicate with each other through letters but they recently requested a face-to-face meeting to discuss unspecified "family decisions."

A motion filed in opposition to that request on behalf of the El Dorado County sheriff, Manfred Kollar, revealed that Jaycee believes Phillip Garrido has been using the media and his attorneys to send her cryptic messages and veiled threats from behind bars.

The motion reads: "He trained the people involved in his recent alleged crimes to tell certain stories if caught, with alternate stories if necessary, and trained them to communicate secretly with each other after they were arrested, through attorneys if necessary. The victim of the crimes he is currently charged with, Jane Doe, is apparently not following his prearranged plan, and it appears as if he may be trying to manipulate her through coded messages. Since he cannot contact her directly, he is using alternate means. Through the media he claimed that Jane Doe's rights were being violated because she did [not] have an attorney, a cryptic way to remind her to start using his pre-arranged communication scheme using lawyers. Furthermore, he told the media that his story was 'heartwarming,' which could also be interpreted as a coded message to his victim to follow the pre-arranged story that they were a happy family.

"Most chillingly, he sent the coded message to his victim that 'he does not harbor any ill will' toward her. This seemingly innocuous message had a hidden meaning, no doubt not obvious to those who carried it for him. Jane Doe, however, understood it as a warning that she was not following his pre-arranged plan. The point is that was a coded message, so no one other than possibly his victim could know for sure what was really meant."

Garrido is described as a "master manipulator" with a history of witness intimidation who "knows how to use concealed messages to threaten and coerce his victims."

The motion provides a laundry list of examples: "In 1972 he successfully coerced his minor rape victim into not testifying by threatening her. In 1977 he was convicted of raping another woman, and was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison, but in 1988 talked his way into being released from federal prison after serving only 11 years. He then tracked down his rape victim from 12 years before and used the cryptic phrase 'I haven't had a drink in 11 years,' interpreted by that victim to mean he hadn't raped in 11 years."

Read What Jaycee Dugard Read

The prison sheriff argued that a face-to-face meeting between the husband and wife co-defendants could further enable this kind of coded victim intimidation. He said there are also concerns that Garrido wants to use an in-person meeting to influence his wife's trial testimony.

Garrido's attorney denies the majority of accusations included in the sheriff's motion, including that she in any way behaved improperly as an attorney and filed a sealed declaration in court addressing that issue.

"The District Attorney has made the false assertion that Phillip Garrido has been able to cause his attorney to unknowingly carrying coded messages to manipulate Jane Doe," she wrote. "All attempts to contact Jane Doe have been through a representative and for a legitimate purpose. There has been no intimidation or harassment of any kind."

But she did admit that Garrido continues to correspond with the media against her advice. "Mr. Garrido's contacts with the media, when his attorney tells him not to have them, are not manipulations at all, but evidence that he may not be competent to be a defendant."

Read Why Jaycee Dugard Stayed

In a sweeping motion filed earlier this month, prosecutors disclosed entries from Dugard's heart-wrenching personal journal, railed against the defendants for their continued attempts to coerce the victim, and took shots at their attorneys for talking to the press about motions they hadn't yet filed, for "aggressively attempting to contact" Jaycee against her wishes, and for maintaining the Garridos' "happy family" party line, among other things.

The sheriff's motion states, "The Garridos seek a privilege that is not granted to any other inmate, claiming the need to make 'family decisions.' In the circumstances of this case, where the alleged 'family' was created by 29 felony counts of kidnapping, false imprisonment and rape, the Garridos' invocation of the sanctity of the 'family' is breathtaking in its audacity."

While it is not clear what the judge will decide in the hearing on Friday, one thing is becoming evident. This is set to be a long, drawn-out trial, not unlike the ongoing case of 2002 kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart (whose alleged abductor, Brian David Mitchell, has been variously described as delusional by his defense and devious by the prosecution).

Phillip Garrido faces life in prison for his alleged crimes, but if he is found mentally incompetent to stand trial, he may never end up serving hard time. And for Jaycee Dugard and her family that can only be the source of more heartache and pain.

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