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Video: Attorney: Nancy Garrido ‘loved Jaycee’

TODAY contributor
updated 9/2/2009 9:15:29 AM ET 2009-09-02T13:15:29

The attorney for Nancy Garrido, the California woman accused of helping her husband hold Jaycee Dugard captive for 18 years, said Wednesday that her “state of mind” could become a defense issue when the sensational case moves forward in court.

“She’s distraught. She’s scared. She seems to be a little lost,” Gilbert Maines told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira. “She doesn’t seem to be able to really focus well at the moment.”

Maines, who was appointed by the court to represent Nancy Garrido, said he has spent just a couple of hours with his client, whom he last saw on Saturday.

“I am five days into this case. I spoke with my client for two hours. I can’t say right now that I’ve formed an opinion of who she is,” Maines told Vieira.

‘A robot’
But he did say that his client thought of Dugard and the two daughters she had by Garrido’s husband, Phillip, as her family. The two girls are now 11 and 15 years old; Dugard, who was kidnapped from in front of her home when she was 11, is 29.

“What she said that I can tell you about is that there came a time when she felt they were a family, and she loved the girls very much, and she loved Jaycee very much,” Maines said. He added, “That seemed a little strange under the circumstances.”

Phillip Garrido’s brother has been quoted as saying that Nancy Garrido was “under his [brother’s] spell.” He described her as “a robot” who would “do anything he asked.”

Maines declined to discuss any specific plans for Nancy Garrido’s defense. According to reports, it was she who allegedly snatched Dugard from the street while her husband drove the car they were in when the girl was kidnapped in South Lake Tahoe in 1991. Two years later, in 1993, she had sole custody and care of Dugard while her husband served months in jail for parole violation on an earlier offense.

Vieira asked Maines how Nancy Garrido could argue she had no knowledge or control when she was alone for that much time with the girl and did nothing to free her.

“That seems to be a fair question,” Maines admitted. “The argument goes to her mental condition at the time, not so much what physically happened. I don’t know that I can argue successfully that she didn’t know what was going on.”

Vieira asked if he would suggest that Nancy Garrido was the victim of mind control.

“I would be derelict in my duty if I didn’t pursue every avenue that was available. One of them would be her state of mind at the time,” he said. The attorney said that he will seek to have his client evaluated by experts to determine her state of mind.

The Garridos’ story
Nancy Garrido, 54, met Phillip Garrido while he was serving 11 years in prison in Leavenworth, Kan., for rape. They were married while he was still behind bars.

-  /  AFP - Getty Images
Phillip and Nancy Garrido were arrested in the case of Jaycee Lee Dugard, who was kidnapped 18 years ago. Phillip Garrido is a registered sex offender who has served time for kidnapping and rape.
The couple lived in a compound in Contra Costa County, Calif. Dugard and her children lived in a warren of tents and outbuildings hidden behind fences in the backyard. Neither parole officers who checked on Phillip Garrido nor local police who visited the compound after neighbors complained about the tents ever discovered the captive woman and her children.

Garrido ran a printing business from his home and also claimed to talk to God. He was captured after he visited UC-Berkeley and told a campus police officer he wanted to hold a religious event at the university. He had Dugard and their two daughters with him.

The officer, her suspicions raised, arranged a meeting the following day, at which time the Garridos were taken into custody and Dugard’s true identity discovered. Dugard has been reunited with her parents. Her daughters have reportedly been told that their father kidnapped and raped their mother.

Slideshow: Captive’s tale Police searched the Garrido property for evidence that might connect him to the unsolved murders of nine women. That search turned up an unidentified bone fragment, but no direct evidence to link the Garridos to the murders.

Phillip and Nancy Garrido are being held without bail. They face 29 criminal counts that could land them behind bars for life, including rape and kidnapping. They've both entered not guilty pleas.

The assistant district attorney says Nancy Garrido is legally charged with rape based on the theory she participated in it. They don't have to prove she physically raped Jaycee Dugard, according to the prosecutor. He says they just have to prove she aided and abetted the crime.

The Associated Press contributed reporting to this story.

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