Vern Pierson, the California DA who put away Phillip Garrido for abducting and raping Jaycee Dugard, released two videos today that show in chilling detail how Garrido and his wife went about luring young girls into their twisted orbit. The videos, he says, demonstrate why the laws need to be changed to keep violent felons from getting out of jail too soon.
One video is of Nancy Garrido, Phillip Garrido's wife, coaxing a young girl to do gymnastics in the couple's van. Nancy is filming the girl, and the purpose of the video is to show it to Phillip Garrido for his gratification.
"That's it. Can you go all the way down?" Nancy Garrido is heard telling a little girl lured into the van where a camera was set up to record her.
When the girl says she can go down farther, Nancy Garrido coaxes, "Let me see, I bet you can go down really easy."
With the girl eager to show off, Nancy Garrido gets her to do more.
"You didn't show me your split, did you? Let me see it now," she says in a sweet voice.
At one point the girl notices the camera recording her and asks about the light on the camera. "Oh, I don't know anything about that camera. You know what I got?" Nancy Garrido chirps, quickly changing the subject.
The second video is of Nancy Garrido being interrogated by an investigator from the El Dorado County Sherriff's Department about how many times she has done this. The shocking answer: between 10 and 20 times.
Pierson, who is District Attorney for El Dorado County, said he is upset that Phillip Garrido got out of jail after serving only 11 years of a 50-year sentence for a previous kidnapping and rape. That left him free to kidnap Dugard.
But Pierson said a big issue in the Garrido case was an "overreliance upon psychiatric professionals who were all too willing to listen to what Phillip Garrido was telling them and ignore the documented evidence that overwhelmingly established that he is a sexual predator."
Something very bad has happened to the law in the state of California regarding parole, Pierson said.
"Since 2008, when the State Parole Board is deciding whether to release an offender, they don't look at the initial crime the offender committed. Instead they look at how he or she has been coping in jail and the predictions provided by psychologists and psychiatrists about the offender's danger to the community."
Pierson wants the parole board to look at the seriousness of the initial offense when trying to determine whether to release someone on parole.
He released a report today with findings concerning the facts and circumstances of the Jaycee Dugard case. Garrido was convicted of kidnapping and raping Dugard, holding her for 18 years. Despite his record of violent crimes Garrido is still considered by the state to be a "moderate to low risk for reoffending."
Pierson is working with State Sen. Ted Gaines, a Republican, to change the existing law. They are working on a new bill to introduce to the legislature next week which would permit parole boards to look at the seriousness of the committing offense in parole decisions.
Pierson and Gaines said they also want to strengthen California's public safety protection in light of the circumstances surrounding Jaycee Lee Dugard's kidnapping and captivity.
This afternoon the Calfornia Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation responded to Pierson's report with a statement:
"CDCR is determined to learn from the past and improve," it said. "In response to several analyzes and reports over the last several years, we have repeatedly acknowledged that there was a need to improve supervision standards in the wake of the Garrido case. In response to recommendations made by the California Office of the Inspector General, the department has made significant improvements."
Jaycee Dugard Case: District Attorney Calls for Reforms
"Jaycee's kidnapping and her 18 years spent in captivity were beyond reprehensible," said Sen. Gaines. "That's why I'm working with the El Dorado County District Attorney to examine what went wrong in the Dugard case, identify reforms to the system and introduce legislation to better protect our citizens from becoming the next victim."
Sen. Gaines and Pierson are planning an August 3 public meeting at the State Capitol along with law enforcement leaders and victims' rights organizations to explore deficiencies in state law and identify potential legislative solutions to prevent these kinds of tragedies from ever occurring again.
The public hearing will include an analysis of the many shortcomings in federal and state parole supervision, as well as the initial investigation. The hearing will in part be informed by California Inspector General David R. Shaw's 2009 report on the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's (CDCR) supervision of registered sex-offender and lifetime parolee, Phillip Garrido. The report uncovered a number of mistakes that let Dugard's kidnapper remain free and keep her in captivity.