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Phillip Garrido's Letter From Hell: "I Was the Baby of the Family"

(AP Photo)
Photo: Phillip Garrido in El Dorado Superior Court in Placerville, Calif., Aug. 28, 2009.

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) In March of 1977, Phillip Garrido was 25 and in federal prison pleading with a judge to reduce his 50-year prison sentence for kidnapping a stranger.

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In neat handwriting and misspelled words, Garrido wrote in a letter that drugs had caused a "downfall" that led to his conviction a month earlier. He promised he had seen the error of his ways during his brief time behind bars.

Garrido, now charged with the 1991 kidnapping and rape of Jaycee Lee Dugard, told U.S. District Court Judge Bruce R. Thompson in 1977 that he was "ashamed" for what he had done and had later admitted on the witness stand.

He said he had finished his high school education during his time behind bars, was seeing a psychiatrist and learning the carpentry trade.

He was contrite and pleading.

"When living at home and going to school, my life was free from the influences of drugs," his letter began after he misspelled the judge's first name as "Bruse."

"I was the baby of the family and spoiled in the long run," he said.

The letter contained in court records provides new insight into the man accused of keeping Dugard locked away in his backyard for 18 years and fathering two children with her.

(CBS)
Photo: Katherine Callaway, who was kidnapped and raped by Phillip Garrido in 1976, appeared in CBS' The Early Show Sept. 2, 2009.

There was no hint of the sexually obsessed kidnapper and rapist who testified a month earlier to prowling through neighborhoods as a Peeping Tom and exposing himself to girls as young as 7.

Garrido told Thompson that by 1969, marijuana had found its way to his rural neighborhood east of San Francisco. He also began using copious amounts of LSD.

"Slowly it began to take me to another style of living and thinking, in the long run I lost much of my reasoning powers," he wrote. "Seven years of using made me fall from reality."

He assured the judge, however, that he had rediscovered the right path after seeing a psychiatrist.

"Of course that is because I wanted to, knowing this is my chance to get my life in line," he wrote. "Drugs have been my downfall. I am so ashamed of my past. But my future is now in controle (sic)."

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Photos: Inside Jaycee's Terror Tent

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  • Sammy Saltzman

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