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Jaycee accused 'too ill for rape trial'

The man charged with kidnapping and raping captive Jaycee Dugard has a serious mental illness and may not stand trial, claimed his lawyer.

Defender Susan Gellman is fighting prosecution moves to ban her from contacting Ms Dugard amid claims Phillip Garrido is using her to manipulate Ms Dugard from jail.

In papers filed by Ms Gellman, she said: "It appears that Phillip Garrido has been hearing voices of angels for years."

Prosecutors in El Dorado County, California have requested a protective order that would keep her as well as Garrido from attempting to communicate with Ms Dugard, either directly or indirectly.

She is asking the judge overseeing the case either to compel the district attorney to provide her with Ms Dugard's address or to appoint a neutral party to serve as a go-between.

"The court can certainly refuse to provide a witness's location," Ms Gellman wrote. "However, in a case like this, it would make settlement far more difficult if counsel were forever foreclosed from approaching the idea of contact again."

In seeking the official buffer, District Attorney Vern Pierson described Garrido as a "master manipulator" who sought to intimidate Ms Dugard into not cooperating with authorities.

Ms Gellman said Garrido is too psychologically impaired to attempt to harass Ms Dugard.

She cited his decision to bring Ms Dugard and the two daughters with him to his parole agent's office and the confession he made that morning that he had kidnapped her in 1991 as evidence of his "complete lack of sophistication".

She also cited the thick sheaf of writings Garrido delivered to the FBI in San Francisco and other law enforcement agencies two days before his arrest in which he claimed to have made a discovery about voices and mind control.

"These are the acts of someone suffering from a serious mental illness," she wrote.

Garrido and his wife, Nancy, pleaded not guilty to kidnapping Ms Dugard and holding her captive for 18 years in the backyard of their Northern California home.

Ms Gellman so far has not indicated that she plans to advise him to plead not guilty by reason of insanity or to argue he is incompetent to stand trial for the kidnap and rape of Jaycee.

hnews@herald.ie


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