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The Elizabeth Smart Case

Background and Latest Developments


Elizabeth Smart

Elizabeth Smart

Family photo
Around 1 a.m. on June 5, 2002, a man with a knife entered the bedroom of 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart and her nine-year-old sister Mary Katherine and forced Elizabeth to leave the house and walk into the woods four miles behind her Salt Lake City home to a secluded campsite.

Nine months later, Elizabeth Smart was found in nearby Sandy, Utah after spending months at the campsite, traveling to California, and returning to Utah with her captors. Brain David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, were charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assualt, and aggravated burglary. Bail for both of them was set at $10 million.

Latest Developments

No Appeal for Brain David Mitchell
July 11, 2011
Attorneys for the man convicted for the kidnapping and rape of Elizabeth Smart will not appeal his conviction. The deadline for filing appeals in Brian David Mitchell's case passed Monday with no appeals being filed on his behalf.

Elizabeth Smart Kidnapper Gets Life
May 25, 2011
The self proclaimed street prophet who kidnapped, rape and held 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart for nine months has been sentenced to the maximum, life in prison. Brian David Mitchell was sentenced in federal court after being found incompentent to go to trial in Utah state court.

Elizabeth Smart's Kidnapper Convicted
Dec. 10, 2010
A federal grand jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts against the street preacher and self-proclaimed prophet who kidnapped and sexually assaulted Elizabeth Smart in 2002. Brain David Mitchell was found guilty of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines for the purpose of illegal sex.

Previous Developments

Brian David Mitchell Has Seizure in Court
Nov. 30, 2010
The federal Elizabeth Smart kidnapping trial was adjourned Tuesday when the defendant had an apparent seizure in the courtroom. Brain David Mitchell was taken by emergency medical workers to a hospital in Salt Lake City.

The Testimony of Elizabeth Smart
Nov. 10, 2010
Elizabeth Smart, who was 14 when she was abducted at knifepoint from her Salt Lake City bedroom, spent three days on the witness stand describing her nine-month ordeal in detail. Smart, now 23, described her abductor, Brain David Mitchell, as a crude and vulgar person who used religion to justify his self-serving actions.

No Fair Jury for Smart Kidnapping?
Oct. 13, 2010
After seeing the questionnaires filled out by 330 potential jurors in the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping trial, defense attorneys argue that there is no way the man accused of her abduction and sexual assault can get a fair trial in the state of Utah.

Brian David Mitchell Seeks Venue Change
July 26, 2010
Lawyers for the defendant in the up-coming Elizabeth Smart kidnapping trial are trying to convince a federal judge to move the trial out of Utah. Brian David Mitchell's attorneys claim the intense publicity surrounding Smart's abduction and return makes getting a fair trial in Utah impossible.

Wanda Barzee Sentenced in Elizabeth Smart Case
May 21, 2010
A woman who was forcibly medicated so that she could become competent to stand trial has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for her part in the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart in 2002. Wanda Barzee pleaded guilty after she was ruled competent and also agreed to testify against her former husband, Brian David Mitchell.

Brian David Mitchell Ruled Competent
Mar. 1, 2010
After almost eight years, the leading suspect in the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart may finally face justice. A federal judge has ruled Brian David Mitchell competent to stand trial, saying that the defendant has been mental illness to avoid punishment.

Brian David Mitchell Stalked Other Girls
Dec. 7, 2009
The man accused of kidnapping 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart in 2002 from her Salt Lake City home stalked other girls before setting on Smart as a target, according to his ex-wife. Brian David Mitchell followed girls on buses but was not able to obtain their addresses, a psychiatrist told a federal judge.

Competency Hearing Begins in Elizabeth Smart Case
Nov. 30, 2009
A federal court hearing to determine if the man accused of abducting Elizabeth Smart from her Salt Lake City home in 2002 got underway after the defendant was removed from the courtroom for singing Christmas carols for 10 minutes.

Barzee Pleads Guilty for Smart Kidnapping
Nov. 17, 2009
The woman charged with her husband with the 2002 kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart has entered a guilty plea in federal court and asked her victim to forgive her for the pain she caused. Wanda Eileen Barzee, 64, also apologized to the court for her role in the kidnapping of the 14-year-old Salt Lake City girl.

Doctors Say Elizabeth Smart Defendant Competent
Oct. 16, 2009
Utah mental health officials have informed a state court judge that the woman accused in the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart is now competent to stand trial

Elizabeth Smart Testifies About Her Abduction
Oct. 1, 2009
For the first time since she was abducted from her home when she was 14 years old, Elizabeth Smart has spoken publicly about her ordeal, testifying at a competency hearing in federal court. Smart said she was repeatedly raped daily by Brian David Mitchell.

Feds Seek Competency Hearing for Mitchell
June 18, 2009
Federal prosecutors have asked for a competency hearing for the man charged with the 2002 kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart after two psychiatric experts disagreed about his ability to take part in his own defense.

Charges Stand Against Elizabeth Smart Kidnapper
March 5, 2009
A Utah judge turned down a motion by the defense to dismiss kidnapping and sexual abuse charges against Brian David Mitchell.

Attorneys Seek Dismissal in Elizabeth Smart Case
Dec. 12, 2008
Attorneys for Brian David Mitchell have asked Utah officials to dismiss the charges against him because he has been declared mentally incompetent and will never face trial.

Feds Take Up Elizabeth Smart Kidnapping Case
Oct. 10, 2008
A day after state prosecutors hit a dead end in the prosecution of the accused kidnappers of Elizabeth Smart, federal prosecutors announced their intentions to prosecute Brian David Mitchell in federal court.

Elizabeth Smart Suspect to Get Forced Meds
May 22, 2008
A woman charged with the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart will soon begin to take medication aimed at restoring her competence to stand trial after the Supreme Court refused to hear her appeal of a judge's ruling.

Forced Meds Blocked for Smart Kidnapper
March 13, 2008
The on-again, off-again court-ordered medication for one of the accused kidnappers of Elizabeth Smart is off again at least temporarily. The Utah Supreme Court ordered a temporary halt to the medication for Wanda Barzee until the U.S. Supreme Court can decide whether or not to hear the case.

Court Okays Forced Meds for Smart Kidnapper
Dec. 14, 2007
The Utah Supreme Court has upheld a judge's order to force medicate one of the accused kidnappers of Elizabeth Smart in order to make her competent to stand trial. A judge ordered the medication in June 2006, but Barzee appealed.

Lawyers Argue Medication for Smart Kidnapping Suspect
Nov. 2, 2007
Prosecutors and attorneys for Brian David Mitchell have filed final written arguments on whether he should be forced to take medication in order to try to make him competent to stand trial.

Smart Kidnapper Ruled Incompetent Again
Dec. 19, 2006
Brain David Mitchell has again been ruled incompetent to stand trial after he once again disrupted his court hearing by shouting at the judge.

Judge Stays Forced Meds Order for Barzee
Aug. 11, 2006
Lawyers for Wanda Barzee appealed to the Utah Supreme Court to try to stop the forced therapy order from Judge Judith Atherton.

Judge Orders Barzee Medicated
June 23, 2006
A Salt Lake City judge has ruled that the woman charged in the abduction of Elizabeth Smart can be forcibly medicated to try to restore her competency to stand trial.

Judge May Order Medication for Barzee
Feb. 19, 2006
Judge Judith Atherton is considering whether to forcibly medicate Wanda Barzee to try to restore her mental competency so that she can stand trial on the charges against her.

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