Courts & Crime

Mental state of Phillip Garrido at issue in Dugard case

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The last time Phillip Garrido went to trial after being accused of rape and kidnapping, serious questions were raised about his mental state.

He was described in the 1977 trial as a "sexual deviant" and a heavy drug abuser.

But he was found mentally stable enough to understand the charges levied against him, and he ended up with a 50-year sentence for the brutal rape and kidnapping of a 25-year-old blackjack dealer who gave him a ride near Lake Tahoe in November 1976.

On Friday, Garrido faced new questions about his mental state as officials moved forward with plans to try him on charges of kidnapping and raping 11-year-old Jaycee Lee Dugard in 1991, three years after he won early release from prison.

In a three-minute court hearing in El Dorado Superior Court, Judge Douglas C. Phimister announced that the issue of "doubt" had been raised about Garrido, meaning there may be an effort to determine whether he is fit to stand trial.

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