Criminal Justice

Jury Reaches Verdict in Elizabeth Smart Child-Kidnap Case: Guilty


Despite an insanity defense, a street preacher accused of kidnapping a then-14-year-old girl from her bedroom at knifepoint in 2002 and keeping her in hiding for nine months as his “celestial wife” before she was freed in 2003, has been convicted in federal court in Utah.

Brian David Mitchell was found guilty by a jury in the Salt Lake City case of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart and transporting her across state lines intending to engage in sexual activity, reports CNN.

Smart, now 23, was the star witness at his trial. She turned to her mother and smiled after the verdict was announced, and both later hugged prosecutors, reports the Associated Press.

Mitchell was diagnosed by a defense expert as a paranoid schizophrenic. And his wife, Wanda Barzee, who was also charged in Smart’s kidnapping, was receiving messages from her television set, according to news stories.

Barzee pleaded guilty but testified for the defense, reported the Salt Lake Tribune earlier in the trial, linking to a transcript of her testimony.

Another Salt Lake Tribune story published after the verdict today provides additional details.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Supreme Court Won’t Hear Accused Kidnapper’s Forcible Medication Appeal”

Salt Lake Tribune: “Mitchell verdict hinges on mental-health testimony “

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