Judge Declares Phillip Garrido Competent

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Phillip Garrido waits to be returned to jail following a hearing where a grand jury indictment was brought against him on charges related to the 1991 kidnapping, rape and imprisonment of Jaycee Dugard, at the El Dorado County Superior Court in Placerville, Calif., Friday, Oct. 1, 2010. The grand jury indictment was brought against Garrido, and his wife Nancy, allowing prosecutors to skip a preliminary hearing and go straight to trial without having to make Dugard appear.

     A California judge has ruled that a man accused of kidnapping, raping and holding Jaycee Dugard captive for 18 years is competent to stand trial.

    Lawyers for Phillip Garrido had argued that he is not mentally competent for trial, and a jury was set to hear arguments on the competency issue.  The trial became unnecessary after both sides agreed instead to let El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Douglas Phimister decide the issue. Phimister's ruling came down Thursday.

    In the past Phillip Garrido has said he hears the voices of angels who live underground.  He also says he invented a special box to control sound with his mind.

    The judge also reinstated the criminal proceedings against Garrido. Both Phillip, and his wife, Nancy Garrido, are scheduled to return to court Feb. 28.

    Even ahead of Thursday's ruling legal experts warned it is difficult to prove incompetency.

    "To have a client who is truly unable to assist with a defense within the legal definition is rare," Sacramento defense attorney William Portanova told the Sacramento Bee. "If you can commit crimes and consciously hide those from authorities for years and years, you've demonstrated a track record of an ablity to competently manage your affairs."

    The Garridos are accused of kidnapping Dugard when she was 11 and holding her captive in the back yard of their home in Antioch until August 26, 2009.

    Dugard, who had two children with Garrido during that time, has since reunited with her mother and has been living in a secluded location ever since.  She is said to be writing a book about her life. 

    The state of California also paid the family $20 million after passing AB 1714.