Courts & Crime

Prosecutors in Dugard case use grand jury to speed up Garrido trial

Prosecutors in the Jaycee Lee Dugard case apparently have used the El Dorado County grand jury to indict Phillip and Nancy Garrido in a bid to speed up the trial.

Nancy Garrido's attorney, Stephen Tapson, said he was told unofficially that the pair had been indicted either Tuesday or Wednesday in the kidnapping and rape case, but that he would not receive confirmation until a transcript of the proceedings is completed.

El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson's office said it would have no comment. Susan Gellman, Phillip Garrido's attorney, did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Grand jury proceedings are secret and an indictment would not be unsealed until the defendants are arraigned, which is required within 10 days of the grand jury acting, a court official said.

Tapson said the move would result in the pending charges against the couple being dismissed at the next scheduled hearing on Oct. 1 and replaced by the indictment.

An indictment would preclude the need for a preliminary hearing that had been set to begin Oct. 7. The new charges would be sent directly to a trial court, possibly speeding up proceedings that already have dragged on for 13 months.

The Garridos have both pleaded not guilty to charges that they kidnapped Dugard in 1991, when she was 11, and kept her hidden until she was found alive in August 2009. During her captivity, she was forced to have two daughters with Phillip Garrido, a convicted kidnapper and rapist who was on parole at the time of the kidnapping.

Dugard has since gone into seclusion with her mother and daughters and received a $20 million settlement from the state for failures by Garrido's parole agents to realize she was being hidden in his Antioch-area home for many years.

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