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Kidnap suspect has history of drug use, violence

Attending high school in a rural suburb east of San Francisco, Phillip Garrido stood apart from the crowd that studied hard, played sports, basked in popularity and set sights on college.
Image: Phillip Garrido in 1976
The image at left, provided by the Reno, Nevada Police Department shows a booking photograph of Phillip Garrido after his arrest Nov. 23, 1976 on kidnapping and rape charges. The photo at right, provided by the El Dorado County Sheriff's and taken Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009 shows Garrido now.AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

Attending high school in a rural suburb east of San Francisco, Phillip Garrido stood apart from the crowd that studied hard, played sports, basked in popularity and set sights on college.

Feeling the drumbeat of the 1960s San Francisco acid rock scene, he was one of the first to let his hair grow long and to smoke marijuana. With a few friends, he formed a band that played hit songs from the likes of Jefferson Airplane and Credence Clearwater Revival. And he painted his bedroom black, covered the walls with psychedelic music posters and illuminated them with black lights.

"He was in the background, not one of the most popular," recalled former classmate Steve Lucchesi. "I thought he was weird, but not that weird... I'm not sure if he was high all the time or saw things differently. But something went haywire."

The clean-shaven young man with flowing hair and a nice smile began violent sexual attacks in the 1970s and is now accused along with his wife of kidnapping, raping and imprisoning Jaycee Lee Dugard for 18 years in his backyard. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Father blames drugs, head injury
His father blamed drugs and a head injury from a motorcycle accident. During his 1977 rape trial, Garrido blamed drugs and a lack of discipline at home. But psychiatrists concluded his problems were more complex than that.

The second son in a working class family, Garrido was raised in Brentwood, a suburban community near Antioch, where he and his wife lived with Dugard until last month.

At Liberty High School, he earned mediocre grades, did not participate much in school activities and was known as one of the students who started smoking marijuana and looking a little like hippies.

"They were just different," said Lucchesi, who was a basketball player and was part of a competing band called the Village Drunks. "It was almost like they were trying to keep up with the psychedelic scene, the drug scene."

Leaving high school in 1969 with a desire to make it big in music, Garrido soon married his high-school sweetheart, who later would divorce him. He worked odd jobs and played bass guitar with his band at small gigs.

By then, he had been using not only marijuana but also LSD and other drugs.

"In 1969, marijuana was reaching out to the rural area of Calif.," Garrido later would recount in a letter from prison. "From that point on, my life was slowly changing."

In the early 1970s, according the U.S Parole Commission, he was arrested twice for marijuana possession and placed on probation both times.

But his own court testimony shows, Garrido also began to act on his sexual compulsions, including public masturbation, exposing himself to children and peering into women's windows as they changed.

Case dropped after victim declined to testify
He was arrested in 1972 on suspicion of drugging and raping a 14-year-old girl in Antioch, a case dropped after the victim declined to testify.

By 1977, he was serving a 50-year federal prison sentence for the kidnapping of a casino worker in Nevada. He was convicted in Nevada state court of raping the same woman after taking her to a storage facility, which an investigator described as a "sex palace" with stage lights, a bed, pornographic pictures and wine.

Three decades later, on Aug. 26, the registered sex offender was arrested in connection with Dugard's abduction from a South Lake Tahoe bus stop in 1991. Authorities said he had fathered two daughters with Dugard during her years of confinement in a makeshift compound in the backyard of Garrido's home in Antioch.

Garrido's father, Manuel, blames the transformation in his son on a 1968 motorcycle accident that resulted in a serious head injury. And Phillip Garrido, in a letter seeking a sentence reduction in the Nevada case, said copious amounts of marijuana, LSD, cocaine and prescription drugs were to blame for his sexual misbehavior.

Gregory Sheppard owned a liquor store Garrido frequented during his time in Reno. Sheppard testified at Garrido's rape trial that the two aspiring musicians would often jam together and take drugs. Sheppard testified that Garrido ingested a lot of different drugs.

"I have seen him taking LSD," Sheppard said, "pot, cocaine, downers, uppers."

Medical experts found his problems were too complex to explain so simply. A neurological test ordered before his 1977 rape showed his brain activity to be normal. Every court-authorized mental evaluation concluded Garrido knew right from wrong, though a psychiatrist hired by Garrido's public defender told the jury that Garrido suffered from deep-rooted sexual obsessions.

‘Drug permitted it to flourish’
Dr. Charles Kuhn testified that Garrido's heavy drug use exacerbated his sexual deviance and compulsions, including Garrido's admissions that he exposed himself to young girls and roamed South Lake Tahoe neighborhoods as a Peeping Tom.

"I don't think the drug is responsible for creating either obsession or the content or quality of the fantasy. I don't believe the drug did that," Kuhn testified. "I think the drug permitted it flourish, so to speak, and survive; and ultimately the drug, or the effects of the drug, permitted it to get acted out."

Kuhn said that Garrido had a marijuana and LSD "dependence" and described Garrido as having an "intelligence somewhat better than average."

"Without the influence any of this drug involvement, I think Mr. Garrido would pause before carrying out sexual fantasies," Kuhn testified. "I am describing his inability to use a reasonable degree of self-control or self-discipline when it comes to doing things that are clearly wrong, clearly illegal and clearly self-destructive."

The federal judge presiding over the trial, relying on another psychiatrist appointed by the court, found Garrido sane enough to stand trial in 1977.

Garrido took the stand in his own defense, but appeared to harm his case more than help it.

Garrido said that he "had the advantage of being with many of women, with their will."

But he also testified that LSD and cocaine acted as sexual stimulants, and that he masturbated frequently and often in public places including the "side of schools, grammar schools and high schools, in my own car while I was watching young females."

He also told the jury that his parents taught him right from wrong and that "very unfortunately" his parents never used corporal punishment to discipline him.

Dugard's stepfather, Carl Probyn, said Sunday he does not care what caused Garrido's problems. "The guy is a sick puppy," he said. "He's going to be my pen pal," if he is convicted and sent to prison.

"I'm going to let him know what his kids are doing, how great they're doing (without him). I'm going to be their surrogate dad."