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Pursuing God and sex

The warring obsessions of Phillip Garrido's life.

September 05, 2009|Maria L. La Ganga

SAN FRANCISCO — As Phillip Garrido maneuvered the Ford Pinto toward the storage unit he had equipped as a hidden lair for raping women, he talked about his sexual fantasies, said Katherine Callaway, who was handcuffed and bound in the back seat.

But that wasn't all.

"He talked a lot about Jesus on our ride, telling me about how he was going to turn himself over to God next year because Jesus was the way," Callaway told police on a cold November morning in 1976 after Garrido raped her repeatedly over 5 1/2 hours.

Thirty-two years later, Garrido claimed he was transformed. Days before he was arrested on charges of kidnapping and rape in the 1991 disappearance of Jaycee Lee Dugard, he handed Cheyvonne Molino, who runs a Pittsburg auto wrecking yard, a four-page manifesto that he said was going to shake the world.

With God's help, he wrote, he was able to overcome "aggressive sexual behavior" and "God willing, I will be able to teach this and other skills Christ is providing for me in the prisons through out the U.S. and over seas."

With increasing frequency and intensity, Garrido had preached to Molino and other customers of the print shop he ran out of his Antioch-area home. They watched warily as the man they knew as simply "eccentric" turned into a religious fanatic. He told them the Creator spoke through him in the tongue of angels.

What his customers could not know was that Garrido's life has been a struggle between his warring obsessions -- God and sex. Last week, that battle became public as Garrido's past was revealed.

"Wait till you hear the story of what took place at this house," Garrido told Sacramento's KCRA-TV from El Dorado County Jail, referring to the gray cinder-block home with a hidden warren of tents and sheds where he allegedly held Dugard. "You're going to be absolutely impressed. It's a disgusting thing that took place with me in the beginning. But I turned my life completely around."

Manuel Garrido, 88, describes his son as a sweet, friendly kid who liked to joke around. He played electric guitar and was in a band. He helped his parents -- a secretary and forklift operator -- and "everybody loved him."

The family lived in a small house at the end of a dirt road in Brentwood, then a farm town not far from the San Joaquin River. Garrido and his older brother, Ron, shared a room.


'Wrong crowd'

But Garrido started mixing with the "wrong crowd" at Liberty Union High School, his father said, and began selling and using LSD. "After he got the LSD pills, he was gone. It ruined his life," he said. "He didn't want to go to school. We had a hell of a time getting him to graduate."

Garrido received a new blue Oldsmobile as a graduation present in 1969, evidence, his father said, of how "spoiled rotten" his youngest son was. "Anything he wanted growing up, he got."

Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll defined Garrido's life. He was arrested for marijuana possession and left Brentwood for Reno when he was about 20, reportedly one step ahead of angry drug dealers. He did odd jobs and played bass guitar in a band.

In 1972, Antioch police allege, he met a 14-year-old girl at the city library, gave her barbiturates and took her to a motel, where she passed out. Garrido raped her while she was unconscious, police said, and when she awoke, he did it again.

Garrido was arrested on April 17, 1972. But the girl did not want to press charges, so he was free to go.

Less than a year later, he married Christine Perreira, his high school sweetheart. Christine was a blackjack dealer at a Reno casino and the main breadwinner. Garrido would later tell Callaway that "he had a very heavy sexual life with his wife, he was very happy."

In a recent interview on "Inside Edition," Christine Murphy said that the marriage became a nightmare. He wanted them to have sex with multiple partners. He gouged her face with a safety pin after he saw a man flirting with her.

"He started to get controlling, he started hitting me," she said.

She bought him handcuffs at a pawnshop. He took explicit Polaroids of her. Their apartment was filled with pornographic books and magazines. And so was storage shed No. 39 that he rented in an industrial area of Reno, ostensibly so his band could practice there.

The shed was part of a warehouse complex, and Garrido covered each wall with different colored carpet. He stocked it with wine, Vaseline and a vibrator. There was a movie projector with porn films, a stack of X-rated magazines, multicolored stage lights, a bed with a tattered red satin sheet and a ratty fake fur blanket.

William J. Emery, who worked for a taxi company and lived one storage unit over, became friendly with Garrido, whom he described in a police report as an "oily long-haired musician trying to accomplish a name for his music."

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