Phillip Garrido isn’t a master manipulator who sends coded messages to victim Jaycee Dugard, as prosecutors contend – he’s mentally ill, Garrido’s own lawyer says in a new court document.
El Dorado County Deputy Public Defender Susan Gellman filed the motion on Wednesday, after the prosecution asked the court not to allow Garrido to communicate with his wife, co-defendant Nancy Garrido, in jail, and to block the defense from being able to communicate with Dugard or to know where she and her daughters are hiding.
A judge is due to rule on the motions Friday in a pretrial hearing for the Garridos, who are charged with abducting Jaycee more than 18 years ago (when she was 11) and keeping her as Garrido’s sex slave.
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County authorities say that Garrido would continue to manipulate those around him if allowed to communicate with Nancy Garrido or Jaycee. In rebuttal, Gellman attaches to her motion leaflets and other literature that Garrido circulated before his arrest. The documents demonstrate that he’s an unsophisticated, delusional and naïve religious fanatic and paranoid schizophrenic who believed he could speak with angels. He also claims to have invented a device to help him control sound with his mind.
Gellman says his odd behavior led to his arrest six months ago this week.
“The District Attorney is ignoring the clear signs of mental illness,” says Gellman, who accuses the DA of political grandstanding. “Mr. Garrido’s contacts with the media, when his attorney tells him not to have them, are not manipulations at all, but evidence that he may not be competent to be a defendant.”
So far, Gellman has not suggested in court that Garrido be found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity.
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In a recent court filing, Chief Assistant County Counsel Edward Knapp says that Garrido used the media to send a “coded message to [Jaycee] that ‘he does not harbor any ill will’ toward her,” which Jaycee understood to be “a warning that she was not following his prearranged plan.”
Gellman writes that after Dugard was finally separated from Garrido after the long trauma of being taken from her mother, she might interpret anything Garrido says to anyone as a further attempt to manipulate her – but that does not make it so. She asks the court to deny the prosecution’s request for a protective order for the Dugards, and to appoint a representative for Jaycee to enable them to communicate with her.
Dugard family spokeswoman Nancy Seltzer says she hopes the judge respects Jaycee’s desire not to have any contact with Phillip Garrido or anyone speaking on his behalf. “Jaycee has repeatedly said she does not want to interact with Phil Garrido or his representatives,” Seltzer tells PEOPLE.