After living in captivity with Phillip and Nancy Garrido for almost two decades, Jaycee Lee Dugard, now 30, was forced to bear him two children. She rarely saw the light of day from the tent in Garrido's backyard, which was her home and eventually, that of her two daughters' home.
The Garridos plead guilty for their crimes on Thursday and will almost surely spend their lives in prison, but one can't help wondering if they're really being punished as they should be given what they did.
They took away 18 years of a girl's life, stole her entire childhood, and basically murdered the person she would've been had she not been locked away and repeatedly raped by these horrible people.
Dugard, for her part, said she was relieved, saying in a statement:
I'm relieved that Phillip and Nancy Garrido have finally acknowledged their guilt and confessed to their crimes against me and my family.
Garrido, who is 60, faces a maximum sentence of 431 years to life in prison after he plead guilty to 14 charges of kidnapping and sexual assault charges, including six counts of rape and seven counts of committing lewd acts captured on video.
His wife, Nancy Garrido, 55, entered a guilty plea on one count of kidnapping and one count of rape. She faces a maximum sentence of 36 years to life.
Both defendants waived their right to appeal and will be officially sentenced on June 2. Technically, both are eligible for parole someday, but the lengths of their sentences make that highly unlikely. Still, "highly unlikely" doesn't mean never and, quite frankly, they should be treated as murderers.
Obviously they didn't kill her and I am sure Dugard, her parents, and her two daughters are grateful for that, but in many ways, they killed what might have been, who she would have been had they not taken her that day in 1991. She will likely have nightmares her whole life.
They robbed her of her childhood, her high school career, proms, graduations, first kisses, boyfriends, college, fun, and above all, innocence. If murder is stealing a life, then certainly that is what the Garridos have done.
They may never see the light of day -- and it's likely they won't -- but living the remainder of their lives in captivity will not make up for all the years they had to be free while Jaycee wasn't. Maybe there is no punishment that fits that crime.
But I sure wish there were.
Do you think the plea deal was fair?
Image via YouTube