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Elizabeth Smart Trial Will Resume Monday

The trial of Brian David Mitchell on federal kidnapping charges is currently underway. The trial paused for Veteran's Day and will begin again on Monday. Brian David Mitchell is accused of taking Elizabeth Smart from her bedroom at knifepoint in June 2002 when she was 14-years-old and keeping her in captivity for nine months, during which time he repeatedly raped her.

The current trial is for federal charges for forcefully taking Smart across state lines. At this point, Mitchell has been deemed incompetent to stand trial for any state charges.

His defense attorneys have said during the trial that they are not challenging the "what" of Smart's ordeal but the "why." They are trying to persuade the jury that Mitchell is insane and delusional based on family history and the pattern of his behavior.

Elizabeth Smart spent three days on the witness stand detailing her kidnapping and captivity. It is her belief that Mitchell used religion as a cover in order to pursue drugs and sex. His defense attorneys, however, claim that Mitchell has struggled with lifelong mental illness.

His grandfather was institutionalized for paranoid schizophrenia. His father was distant from the family and believed he was a prophet. When Mitchell was a young teenager he changed, acting cruelly toward his mother and four siblings. He told his mother that he was going to only eat fruit and accused her of poisoning him if she gave him any other food.

According to his attorneys, Mitchell deteriorated over the years and eventually became convinced he was receiving revelations from God and believed God told him to take Elizabeth Smart for his second wife. He and his wife, Wanda Barzee, kept Smart hidden in the open for nine months. After almost being discovered, Mitchell took Barzee and Smart to San Diego. They eventually returned to Salt Lake City and were discovered by motorists outside the city nine months after Smart's kidnapping.

Source:

Day 3 of Mitchell Trial: Smart tells how she was hidden in plain sight (KSL)

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