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Monday
Aug082011

Police Release Elizabeth Smart Kidnapper Interrogation Tapes

George Frey/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Brian David Mitchell told detectives who interviewed him shortly after his arrest that he had been commanded by God to kidnap Elizabeth Smart in 2002, and that she had "a glorious experience" with him.

The interview is shown in a video newly released by the Utah District Federal Court, in which a Salt Lake City police detective and an FBI agent question Mitchell sitting around a table in an interview room.

The video was released in response to a motion filed by attorneys for The Salt Lake Tribune and KUTV.

Mitchell, with his wild gray beard, spouts Biblical references and expounds his belief in his calling from God as the investigators try to pin him down on details about the abduction of Smart and the nine months he and Wanda Barzee held her captive.

The two-hour interview was conducted in 2003 by Salt Lake City Police Detective Cordon Parks and FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Ross hours after Mitchell was arrested in Sandy, Utah.

Smart was taken at knifepoint from her bed in the middle of the night on June 5, 2002, while her sister slept.

During Mitchell's trial last year, she told the court that Mitchell held a knife to her throat, took her to an encampment near Salt Lake City, pronounced her his wife, and raped her repeatedly.  Smart also testified that he forced her to view pornography, drink alcohol and watch him and Barzee engage in sexual activity.

After a nine-month search that attracted extensive national coverage, Smart was rescued in 2003 when she was walking in a suburb of Salt Lake City with Mitchell and Barzee.

Barzee, 65, was sentenced in May 2010 to 15 years after she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

A District court judge allowed the early interrogation tapes to be released after Mitchell, a homeless street preacher, was convicted in December of kidnapping and transportation of a minor across state lines to engage in sexual activity.

This May, with the help of Smart's emotionally grueling testimony, Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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