Attorney: DA Ignoring Garrido's Mental Illness

New court papers suggest Garrido incompetent for trial

By Jessica Greene
|  Thursday, Feb 25, 2010  |  Updated 8:34 AM PDT
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Attorney: DA Ignoring Garrido's Mental Illness

AP

Phillip Garrido is seen with his court appointed attorney, Susan Gellman, during his arraignment on 29 felony counts stemming from the abduction of Jaycee Dugard,11, in 1991, in the El Dorado Superior Court in Placerville, Calif., Friday, Aug. 28, 2009. Garrido pleaded not guilty on charges including forcible abduction, rape, sexual assault and false imprisonment.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

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A lawyer representing the man charged with kidnapping and raping Jaycee Dugard says her client is mentally ill and incapable of trying to manipulate his victim from jail.

Susan Gellman, a deputy public defender in El Dorado County, made the characterization in court papers filed Wednesday. Gellman also claimed District Attorney Vern Pierson was wrong in calling Garrido a "master manipulator" and says Pierson is "ignoring the signs of serious mental illness."

Read the court papers

In the papers, Gellman said that Garrido claims to have heard the voices of angels for years and says Dugard, referred to as "Jane Doe" told investigators about his conversations with the fictitious characters.

Here's an excerpt from the new documents:

 

Jane Doe spoke to investigators about his self-described ability to understand the voices of angels after Mr. Garrido was arrested. One of the children disclosed this as well, describing how the voices whould keep him up at night, and how the angel lived underground and spoke to him from this location.


The court filing also points to Garrido's contact with the media as evidence that he might not be fit for trial.

Gellman is asking the judge overseeing the case to make the district attorney provide her with Dugard's address and to appoint a neutral party to serve as a go-between between her and Dugard.

Prosecutors are trying to obtain a court order that would block Gellman from trying to contact Dugard.

Phillip Garrido and his wife, Nancy, have pleaded not guilty to kidnapping Dugard and holding her captive for 18 years.

KCRA contributed to this report.

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