PLACERVILLE, Calif. – A convicted sex offender and his wife pleaded guilty Thursday to kidnapping and raping a Northern California girl when she was 11 and holding her captive for nearly two decades.
The pleas came as part of a surprise deal with prosecutors that will spare victim Jaycee Dugard and her two daughters fathered by one of the defendants from having to testify at a trial.
Phillip Garrido faces a maximum sentence of 431 years to life in prison after entering guilty pleas to 14 kidnapping and sexual assault charges.
His wife, Nancy Garrido, pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping and one count of rape. She faces a maximum sentence of 36 years to life.
"Jaycee's courage and willingness to confront her abductors in court directly led to the defendants' plea and life sentences," District Attorney Vern Pierson said.
The couple both waived their right to appeal and were scheduled to be sentenced on June 2.
The guilty pleas came at a hastily arranged court hearing after both defendants pleaded not guilty earlier this month.
Dugard was snatched from her family's South Lake Tahoe street in June 1991 while walking to a school bus stop.
The case attracted international attention after Dugard surfaced in August 2009 and authorities said she and her children had lived in a hidden compound of tents and sheds in the Garridos' backyard in Antioch, never attending school or receiving medical attention.
The Associated Press as a matter of policy avoids identifying victims of sexual abuse by name in its news reports
However, Dugard's disappearance had been known and reported for nearly two decades, making impossible any effort to shield her identity when she resurfaced.
Dugard's case revealed problems with California's system for monitoring convicted sex offenders after it was determined parole agents had missed numerous clues and chances to find her.
She received a $20 million settlement under which the state acknowledged repeated mistakes were made by parole agents responsible for monitoring Phillip Garrido. California has since increased monitoring of sex offenders.
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