07:53 PM EDT 05/04/2015
Originally posted 11/20/2010 01:15PM
Wanda Barzee wept at the trial of her husband, Brian David Mitchell, as she recalled how he kidnapped and raped 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart.
Wearing shackles and a blue-and-white striped jail jumpsuit, Barzee, 65, broke down during cross-examination Friday by federal prosecutor Felice Viti in a Salt Lake City courtroom.
Barzee, who is serving a 15-years-to-life sentence after pleading guilty for her role in Smart's kidnapping, said she felt manipulated by Mitchell, who told her he was driven by religious revelations.
Originally posted 11/10/2010 01:45PM
Taking the stand for a third day, a calm and poised Elizabeth Smart finished her testimony for the prosecution Wednesday and then was questioned for only 15 minutes by a lawyer for alleged kidnapper Brian David Mitchell.
Suggesting that Mitchell suffered from mental illness, defense attorney Robert Steele asked Smart about Mitchell's frequent singing and praying during the nine months she was abducted when she was 14 years old.
Smart was also asked about the night in 2002 when she said Mitchell took her at knifepoint from the bedroom of her Salt Lake City home.
"Is it possible at that time he said, 'I don't want to have to hurt you and your family?' Is it possible those were his words?"
"Possible," Smart told the jury in federal court in Salt Lake City.
Originally posted 11/09/2010 02:35PM
Several weeks after Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped at knifepoint, the ordeal could have ended immediately when she met a police detective during a visit to the Salt Lake City library.
As the officer attempted to lift the veil Smart was wearing, her alleged abductor, Brian David Mitchell, yelled that the veil was important for religious purposes and that only Mitchell was allowed to see her face.
"I was mad at myself that I didn't say anything," she said on her second day of testimony at Mitchell's trial in federal court in Salt Lake City. "I felt terrible that the detective hadn't pushed harder and had just walked away."
Originally posted 11/08/2010 04:20PM
The feeling was so powerful that even now, more than eight years later, she struggles to find the words.
Elizabeth Smart took the witness stand Monday in the trial of the man accused of subjecting her to a terrifying nine-month abduction when Smart was 14 years old.
Now 23 years old, Smart described for the jury in a composed voice how Brian David Mitchell put a knife to her throat and kidnapped her from the bedroom of her Salt Lake City home in 2002.
"I could feel something cold across my neck," she said, adding that a man with a "soft but very serious" voice told her to get out of bed. "I thought I was having a nightmare. It was just indescribable fear."
Originally posted 11/08/2010 03:20PM
The defense gave its opening statement Monday in the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping trial, arguing that Brian David Mitchell, who stands accused of the traumatic nine-month abduction, first exhibited signs of mental illness as a teenager and grew up with a paranoid schizophrenic father.
According to his attorney, Parker Douglas, Mitchell believed that God was giving him direct commands – and ordering him to give up his children for adoption, to take multiple wives and to take Smart, who was 14 at the time, as his wife.
"Regarding fear of the crazy decree from the divine, if Elizabeth Smart was to be his wife the way would be opened and if not it would not be opened," Douglas said in his opening statement.
Originally posted 11/05/2010 03:20PM
The Elizabeth Smart kidnapping trial is now back on after a surprise appeals court ruling halted proceedings Thursday.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday morning released its decision to deny Brian David Mitchell's request to move his trial out of Utah, writing that a change of venue would be a "drastic remedy and is to be invoked only in extraordinary circumstances."
Originally posted 11/04/2010 01:55PM
The Elizabeth Smart kidnapping trial was halted Thursday after a ruling by a Denver appeals court abruptly stopped proceedings.
The prosecution in the trial of Brian David Mitchell finished their opening statements – which included some harrowing details of the alleged crime – and the defense was just beginning when the ruling from Denver's 10th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals was announced in the courtroom.
The Denver court has agreed to hear more evidence regarding a request from Mitchell's attorneys to change the trial venue because they say their client cannot get a fair trial in Utah.
Originally posted 11/01/2010 03:40PM
The man standing trial for the horrifying nine-month abduction of Elizabeth Smart was kicked out of a Utah court for singing hymns on Monday – and it's not the first time.
As jury selection began in federal court in Salt Lake City, U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball booted Brian David Mitchell after listening to him sing hymns softly for a half-hour, according to reports. Mitchell, a self-proclaimed Utah prophet, has been removed from courtrooms in the past for loudly singing and quoting scriptures.
For now, Mitchell, 57, will watch court proceedings on video from another room in the courthouse. Charges against him include the kidnapping and sexual assault of Smart when she was 14 years old.
Originally posted 10/31/2010 09:30PM
After waiting seven years, Elizabeth Smart will finally face at trial the man accused of subjecting her to a horrifying nine-month abduction.
Jury selection begins Monday in federal court in Salt Lake City for self-proclaimed Utah prophet Brian David Mitchell, 57, on charges of kidnapping and sexual assault of Smart when she was 14 years old.
Smart made plans to fly back to Utah this weekend from her Mormon mission in Paris to testify against Mitchell, who in the past has been removed from the courtroom for loudly singing and quoting scriptures.
Originally posted 05/21/2010 05:20PM
More than seven years after Elizabeth Smart was reunited with her family, one of her abductors was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison by a federal judge.
Wanda Barzee, who pleaded guilty to helping Brian David Mitchell kidnap Smart, then 14, from her Salt Lake City home in 2002, apologized to Elizabeth's family during the sentencing hearing in Salt Lake City.
"I know the gravity of my crimes and how serious they are," said Barzee, 64. "I’m just so sorry again for all the pain and suffering I caused upon the Smart family."
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