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Monday, February 28, 2011

Couple Confessed In Jaycee Dugard Kidnap girl held her captive for 18 yrs

Couple Confessed In Jaycee Dugard Kidnap
Girl Held Captive For 18 Years
Images: Judge Nixes Release Of Documents In Dugard Case
LISA LEFF, Associated Press
Posted: 1:09 pm EST February 28, 2011
Updated: 10:29 pm EST February 28, 2011

PLACERVILLE, Calif. -- A Northern California couple charged with kidnapping Jaycee Dugard and holding her captive for 18 years have given full confessions to authorities, a defense lawyer said Monday.

The revelation came as prosecutors and defense lawyers opened negotiations on possible plea bargains that could avert a trial and testimony by the victim who has sought privacy since being freed 18 months ago.

Attorney Stephen Tapson, who represents defendant Nancy Garrido, told reporters outside court that he was present when his client and her husband, Phillip Garrido, were re-interviewed by El Dorado County detectives during the past month.

They acknowledged snatching Dugard, then 11, from a South Lake Tahoe street, and answered dozens of questions from investigators about the years they spent with her and her two daughters fathered by Phillip Garrido, Tapson said.

"Essentially they confessed to kidnapping and told where all the bodies are buried," Tapson said, characterizing the disclosures as "full confessions."

Nancy Garrido, 55, has pleaded not guilty to 18 felony counts that include false imprisonment, rape and child pornography. Her husband had been scheduled to enter a plea Monday, but his lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Susan Gellman, asked to postpone the arraignment until March 17.

Neither Gellman nor District Attorney Vern Pierson would confirm or deny Tapson's account.

The case took a turn toward a possible plea deal earlier this month when a judge declared Phillip Garrido competent to stand trial.

Criminal proceedings against him had been halted in September after Gellman expressed doubts about his mental state. Based on evaluations by two psychiatrists, Gellman and the district attorney later agreed Garrido's competency was no longer a barrier to trial.

Both defense lawyers said at the time that the defendants were amenable to a settlement that would spare Dugard and her daughters from having to take the witness stand.

Tapson said discussions for a plea deal are ongoing, with the most recent offer from prosecutors calling for sentencing Phillip Garrido to 440 years in prison and his wife to more than 241 years.

Tapson thinks the sentence proposed for his client is exorbitant. While Nancy Garrido acknowledged being the one who dragged Dugard from a school bus stop into the couple's car in 1991, she denies having sexually abused the girl and regards herself as a mother to Dugard and her daughters, Tapson said.

"She should be able to walk free at some point in time," Tapson said, adding that he thought a sentence of 20 to 30 years would be appropriate.

Nancy Garrido delivered the children Dugard, now 30, had when she was 14- and 17-years old, he said.

The lawyer says Dugard was present during one of Nancy Garrido's recent interviews, apparently the first time the women had been face-to-face since the couple was arrested in 2009.

He declined to say if they spoke or to describe the mood at their encounter.

Dugard is writing a book about her years imprisoned in the backyard of the Garridos' Antioch home, with publication expected later this year. So far, she has not spoken publicly about her ordeal.

Phillip Garrido winked at his wife as they were both escorted handcuffed into a jury box for the scheduled arraignment. Nancy Garrido smiled broadly at him in return.

Also Monday, Superior Court Judge Douglas Phimister refused to release grand jury transcripts, mental health records and other documents in the case.

Phimister ruled that making the information public would "substantially and prejudicially" jeopardize Phillip Garrido's right to a fair trial.

Media organizations, including The Associated Press, had asked the judge to unseal the documents.

Dugard spent a day testifying behind closed doors in August, and her statements largely formed the basis of the indictments handed down by the grand jury.

Prosecutors objected to having her testimony made public before trial or until a plea deal is accepted.

Quoting their motion, Phimister noted the testimony contained a detailed description of her rape and other sexual acts that Phillip Garrido is accused of capturing on video.

Her account, as well as the reports of the court-appointed psychiatrists who evaluated Phillip Garrido, could prejudice potential jurors if the case goes to trial, the judge said.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast,

The State must have some key evidence on Casey Anthony Case

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Prosecutors said they are not going to use three high-profile pieces of evidence against Casey Anthony when she goes to trial in May for the murder of her daughter Caylee, according to a document (read it) obtained by WFTV on Monday

READ: State's Witness List And Evidence Schedule

State prosecutors wrote that they are not going to use the jail video of Casey when she found out that Caylee Anthony's remains had been found near their house.

Prosecutors also said they are not going to use Casey's statements to investigators after her arrest for the murder of her daughter Caylee. In the statement, Casey said that investigators would not trick her into a confession.

Lastly, prosecutors said they are not going to use Casey's statements to her jail pen pal, Maya Derkovic, who told WFTV that Casey talked about giving Caylee chloroform to knock her out.

wonder who did Evidence Tampering In Caylee Anthony Case?

The murder trial of Casey Anthony in the 2008 death of her two-year-old daughter, Caylee Anthony, is slated to begin in May. And now, reports Tony Pipitone of CBS affiliate WKMG in Orlando, Fla, court documents give hints of the strategy the defense may pursue – trying to discredit the official cause of death and suggesting crucial evidence might have been staged. When Caylee vanished almost three years ago, it was an entire month before she was even reported missing. Casey Anthony, soon became the prime suspect. Caylee’s remains were found six months later, wrapped in a plastic bag with duct tape near her mouth.
It took only days for coroners to declare her death was no accident – that it was homicide. But this past September, Pipitone points out, Orange County, Fla. Medical Examiner Jan Garavaglia was grilled under oath — her findings challenged for the first time. Defense attorney Cheney Mason proposed, “Suppose this child drowned in the family swimming pool.”

“Doctor G,” as she’s known, dismissed that theory, saying, “I have never seen a drowning, nor do I see reason why a drowning would have duct tape on the lower half of the face. … There’s no indication that this child would drown, and there’s no reason why a child that’s drowned is put in a plastic bag and dumped on the side of the road.”

In what Pipitone calls another major revelation from the depositions, the defense may have another card to play, based on testimony by the man who found Caylee’s skull, Roy Kronk.

“I just lifted it barely, you know,” he said, “so I could get a better look at it. … I didn’t move it, as in physically move it, from one location to another. I just kinda lifted it up a little bit.” It’s that contact with the remains that defense lawyers are trained to zero in on.

“They may well argue,” says legal analyst Mark O’Mara, “there is a possibility that it was staged and it’s not competent evidence to be considered.” However, Pipitone notes, legal experts believe the defense “will need a lot more proof to convince a jury the evidence was staged.”

Tru TV legal correspondent Beth Karas recalled for “Early Show on Saturday Morning” co-anchor Russ Mitchell that, “The prosecution charged Casey with murder before the remains were found. And they weren’t seeking (the) death (penalty). Once the remains were found, they changed their minds. And they’re seeking death. And these were just bones, scattered bones. You know why? Because of the tape around the mouth. The tape is everything. And that’s why the defense has revealed in these depositions it’s going after the tape. The position of the tape. Was this child suffocated? Did this child drown? This case is all about that tape.

“You can see what the defense trying to do. (Garavaglia) cannot determine the cause of death. What killed this child: Was it suffocation? The tape seems to indicate it was. But they’re trying to say, you can’t tell. She could have drowned, and then maybe someone panicked, put her in a bag and threw her into the woods. But it’s not an intentional, premeditated murder worthy of the death penalty. “

The defense, Mitchell observed, seems to be telegraphing it’s going to try to use the accidental death theory. Is that wise?

“Well,” Karas replied, “go with accidental death, they kind of say, ‘She did it.’ And they’re not saying Casey did it. That would be more, she did it, it’s really a manslaughter. But there’s a lot for the defense to work with in this case just to raise reasonable doubt. Because of this meter reader, Roy Kronk.

“He finds the body, the remains. But he had called in the same location three times in August, months earlier, so does he know something? Was he responsible for placing the bag there? With the remains? This is something that the defense at least wants to raise, to create reasonable doubt in the jury’s mind – that Casey didn’t put her there. This meter reader knew where she was for months.”

The trial, Karas says, will be “good for the defense” in that “the judge is going to pick a jury in another city, and then ship them into Orlando and sequester them, and (court) is going to meet six days a week. It’s going to be a very busy trial for about two-and-a-half months. But this is a tough (case) for the defense, because Casey lied to the police. She’s charged with four counts of lying to the police, that she never reported her baby missing for 31 days. Her mother did, when her mother realized it. So, Casey has some explaining to do, or her defense has some explaining to do. So, it’s tough.”

Still, this won’t be a slam dunk for the prosecution, Karas cautioned: “No case is a slam dunk. I was a prosecutor. I lost my first case. It was a little misdemeanor, but proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a hard burden. Convincing 12 people beyond a reasonable doubt is a high and hard burden. It’s not a slam dunk. But, right now, the evidence certainly seems to point to Casey Anthony, and police and prosecutors are not in the business of arresting innocent people. It happens but that’s not what they do.”