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15.9.09 $30M bail set for Calif. kidnap suspect PDF  | Stampa |  E-mail

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By JULIET WILLIAMS, Associated Press Writer
Mon Sep 14

PLACERVILLE, Calif. – A judge on Monday set bail at $30 million for a Northern California man accused of kidnapping a girl and holding her captive for 18 years.

In setting the high amount, El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Douglas Phimister cited the serious nature of the charges, injuries to the girl and the fact that Phillip Garrido was on parole at the time of the alleged abduction.

Garrido, 58, and his wife, Nancy Garrido, 54, have pleaded not guilty to 29 charges of kidnapping, rape and false imprisonment charges and have been held without bail in an El Dorado County jail.

The couple are accused of kidnapping 11-year-old Jaycee Dugard from her home near South Lake Tahoe in 1991 then holding her captive in a backyard jumble of tents and sheds for nearly two decades. Authorities say Phillip Garrido fathered two daughters with Dugard.

Nancy Garrido continues to be held without bail, something her attorney did not object to during Monday's hearing. Phillip Garrido is unlikely to be released because of his parole violations, even if he could raise the money.

He appeared in court with a bandage on his nose and a newly grown gray beard. He and his wife both appeared solemn during the 10-minute hearing, during which the judge granted a request by Phillip Garrido's attorney, Susan Gellman, for a psychiatric evaluation of her client.

Nancy Garrido's attorney, Gilbert Maines, reserved the right to request one.

Gellman told the judge several law enforcement agencies have sought to interview her client about other cases they are pursuing.

"He does not consent to be questioned for any purposes," Gellman said.

The judge said Gellman would be notified of any interview efforts.

Outside court, District Attorney Vern Pierson told a throng of media from around the world that investigators were continuing to pursue other leads in the case.

"As of today, there are no additional charges ... That's not to say there won't be," he said.

He said Dugard and her children were doing exceptionally well under the circumstances after being reunited with Dugard's mother shortly after the Garridos were arrested Aug. 27.

"Basic human decency mandates honoring the family's request for privacy," he said.

He declined to comment on rumors that Dugard, now 29, has agreed to appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show and praised the state parole agent who brought the Garridos into custody.

The agent, whom Pierson identified as Eddie Santos, questioned Phillip Garrido after being notified by University of California, Berkeley police employees that the convicted sex offender had arrived on campus with two children while attempting to distribute religious pamphlets.

"This parole agent successfully broke through the elaborate, well-planned cover story that was 18 years in the making," Pierson said. "We all owe him a debt of gratitude."

Gordon Hinkle, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, would not confirm that Santos was the parole agent. But he said Garrido's most recent parole officer had been assigned to the case only since December.

He said the department was reviewing its handling of Garrido's parole but would not release any details because it did not want to interfere with the ongoing criminal case.

Before Monday's hearing, Deputy District Attorney Trish Kelliher filed a declaration seeking higher bail for both suspects, citing the serious nature of the crimes and saying they should be considered flight risks.

She also said in her court filing that a stun gun was used to subdue the victim when she was kidnapped from a school bus stop in 1991.

Both defendants are due back in court for an Oct. 29 hearing. The district attorney's office said it could take a year to 18 months to bring the case to trial.