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Mitchell's Parents Testify for Defense in Elizabeth Smart Case

The father of Brian David Mitchell testified Wednesday in his son's trial. Brian David Mitchell is accused of the kidnapping and sexual assault of Elizabeth Smart. Shirl Mitchell, 87, was called to the stand by his son's defense attorneys with the aim of building the case that Mitchell was insane when he kidnapped Smart.

Elizabeth Smart testified during the prosecution's case that Mitchell kidnapped her by knifepoint from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, Utah, in June 2002 when she was 14. Mitchell then took her into the foothills where he lived with his wife, Wanda Barzee. That night, he made Smart his "bride" and raped her. He kept her in captivity for nine months and sexually assaulted  her almost every day, until passerby recognized them walking down a road in the outskirts of Salt Lake and she was rescued.

Mitchell's defense attorneys say that they are not refuting what happened but why it happened. Mitchell has been portrayed as a mentally ill religious fanatic who has a history of bizarre behavior and a family history of mental illness.

Mitchell's father, mother and two of his sisters have testified, and they have described a person who became increasingly alienated from his family. His father testified that Mitchell had to go to juvenile court for exposing himself to a girl younger than 4 when he was 16. His father testified that Mitchell was always intelligent but that from a young age he was increasingly isolated.


Accused kidnapper's father testifies in Smart case (Reuters)

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