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Entries in Wanda Barzee (3)

Wednesday
May252011

Elizabeth Smart to Speak at Kidnapper's Sentencing

George Frey/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Utah kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart is due in court Wednesday for the sentencing of the man who held her captive and sexually assaulted her for nine months.

Smart says she will speak during Brian David Mitchell's sentencing not only for her case but also for other victims who cannot speak out -- she wants it to give them hope.

Last December, Mitchell was found guilty of kidnapping Smart.  Now, she'll get the final word, telling her tormentor and the judge about the horrors she endured.

Smart was kidnapped from her Salt Lake City home in June 2002 after Mitchell broke in and took the then 14-year-old from the bedroom she shared with her sister.  For the next nine months, Mitchell, a self-proclaimed prophet, and his accomplice, Wanda Barzee, held her captive.  He claimed she had become his wife and repeatedly sexually assaulted her.

In March 2003, two women in Sandy, Utah -- just miles from Smart's home -- called police when they saw a man who they thought looked like Mitchell, whose face they knew from the extensive coverage of the girl's story.  The man was walking with a woman and a girl, all carrying rolled sleeping bags.  When police tracked the trio down, they thought the girl looked like Smart and took them into custody.

Mitchell will likely be sentenced to life in prison.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May232011

Elizabeth Smart Wants to Make Sentencing Message of Hope

George Frey/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) -- When Elizabeth Smart speaks at the sentencing this week of the man who kidnapped her from her bedroom nine years ago, her words might be directed to the judge, but she hopes her message will reach others who have gone through ordeals like hers.

At Brian David Mitchell's sentencing, scheduled for Wednesday, Smart will get the final word, telling her tormenter, and the judge, about the horrors she endured and why no one should ever have to face Mitchell again.

Smart said she also knows she can serve as an example and an inspiration to others.

"I will be able to reach out and help other children, other survivors speak out about what's happened to them and give them real hope and courage to take a stand," she said.

Smart was the picture of poise throughout the trial, holding her head high while telling a jury of the horrors Mitchell put her through.  But she said she hasn't decided what she will tell the court.

"I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to say yet," she said.  "So we'll just see when the time comes."

In June 2002, Mitchell broke into the Smart house in an affluent neighborhood of Salt Lake City and kidnapped the then 14-year-old from the bedroom she shared with her sister.  For the next nine months, Mitchell, a self-proclaimed prophet, and his accomplice, Wanda Barzee, held her captive.  He claimed she had become his wife and repeatedly sexually assaulted her.

In March 2003, two women in Sandy, Utah -- just miles from Smart's home -- called police when they saw a man who they thought looked like Mitchell, whose face they knew from the extensive coverage of the girl's story.  The man was walking with a woman and a girl, all carrying rolled sleeping bags.

When police tracked the trio down, they thought the girl looked like Smart and took them into custody.

It took years for the case to finally go to trial because of questions over Mitchell's mental health.  When it finally began last year, the trial spanned five weeks, during which Smart took the stand to describe in frank language what happened during her nine-month captivity.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov112010

Elizabeth Smart Ends Testimony, Paints Kidnapper as Brutal Zealot

Photo Courtesy - George Frey/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY, Utah) -- When Elizabeth Smart stepped down from the stand, ending three days of excruciatingly personal testimony Wednesday, she had painted her accused kidnapper as a brutally cruel, religious zealot obsessed with sex.

Speaking in a controlled voice, her words tinged with anger, Smart called Brian David Mitchell selfish and a "hypocrite" who raped her at every chance he got even while proclaiming himself to be God's servant.

The now 23-year-old woman told the jury that Mitchell talked to her during her nine months in captivity about what would happen if they were captured.

"He knew he would go to prison.  But then he also said that I...and the other wives...would come and testify in his behalf," Smart testified.  "And he said that he would be released and he would be killed and lie dead in the street for three days and then he would be resurrected and he would go on to fight the Anti-Christ."

She also spoke of being forced to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana, which disgusted her.

Smart was 14 when she was kidnapped from her bed in Utah.  She has said she was forced to "marry" Mitchell in an impromptu ceremony shortly after the kidnapping and that he would often beg her for sex, angering accomplice Wanda Barzee, who was jealous of the attention Mitchell gave Smart.

During her three days on the stand, Smart was poised and unruffled as she detailed her nightmarish nine months with Mitchell and Barzee.  She said that at one point she was confronted by a police officer looking for Elizabeth Smart and he wanted to look under the veil Mitchell made her wear.  She was so afraid of Mitchell's death threats that she didn't speak up and was heartsick that the officer wasn't more persistent.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio