Jaycee Dugard will testify against the couple that allegedly held her captive in an elaborate compound hidden in their backyard for 18 years if there is a trial, a lawyer for her family said at a news conference Thursday.
Attorney Scott McGregor admitted it has been a difficult transition for Dugard and her two children — who police say were fathered by her captor — given her captivity spanned more than half her life and was the only world she knew for so long. “But there is no question that she knows that terrible and wrong things were done to her and that those people must be held accountable,” McGregor said. McGregor said he had no idea when a trial would be set for Phillip and Nancy Garrido, who have both pleaded not guilty to charges relating to Dugard’s alleged kidnapping and subsequent abuse. He acknowledged Dugard would have to relive the “trauma” in court by sharing the “very, very sordid tale.” McGregor also said that because of Phillip Garrido’s previous criminal history, which includes a kidnapping and rape charge for which he was registered as a sex offender, Garrido would automatically receive a sentence of 25 years to life if he were found guilty on only one felony charge. But McGregor said the family is trying not to focus on any of that and instead work on building a new life together. He said he had met with Dugard and her family twice for a couple of hours and was happy to see “how well they had been doing.” “Even more encouraging was the second time I met with them, I saw progress,” he said.
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“I’m just very pleasantly surprised watching the dynamics, and I think it’s a very positive thing going forward.” McGregor said Dugard’s daughters, who police said never went to school or a doctor, were receiving tutoring. Dugard has been participating and observing. “This is a woman whose [own] formal education ended in the fifth grade,” he said. “She has a brain that she wants to develop, so it’s a very positive thing.” The family received medical attention and counseling beginning the day Dugard and her children were discovered, McGregor said. He also said they had received donations of more than $100,000 from the public, which would help the girls as they get older. He praised law enforcement and family members for helping protect Dugard and her children after her discovery. “[They are] very guarded in allowing the girls access to TV news, Internet, etc.,” he said. “Because they’re being a mother, a grandmother, protecting the girls from too much information too early.” He said he knows there is a curiosity about where the family is, but pleaded that the public and the media give the family time to heal. More than anything, McGregor said, Dugard’s family is working to make life as normal as possible and allow them to make up for lost time. “To watch the interaction between Jaycee and her mother … after 18 years is remarkable,” McGregor said. “The emotions there, I think they’re still wrestling with all of that but I think they’re making great progress.”