Elizabeth Smart Awoke with Knife at Throat
Elizabeth Smart awoke with a knife at her throat. The first words she heard were death threats from her captor Brian David Mitchell. Elizabeth Smart testified about her abduction, daily rapes and threats to kidnap other members of her family. She took the stand to detail the events surrounding her 2002 kidnapping that lasted nine months. Brian David Mitchell watched from another room in the Utah federal courthouse.
"He said he was taking me hostage for ransom. I was shocked. I thought I was having a nightmare," Smart told the courtroom, The Los Angeles Times reports. Smart also described her marriage ceremony to Mitchell, as well as other details of her time with Davis and his now estranged wife Wanda Eileen Barzee. Barzee pled guilty to kidnapping charges and is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence.
Brian David Mitchell, 57, is charged with kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor (taking Smart to California). This is a trial that has been a long time coming and received a tremendous amount of publicity every step of the way. There were several failed attempts to move the trial out of the state of Utah as failed insanity pleas.
Elizabeth Smart's mother, Lois Smart, said, "It was utter terror. It was the worst feeling knowing that I didn't know where my child was. I was helpless," The Times reports.
If convicted, Brian David Mitchell could spend the rest of his life in prison. Mitchell's defense rests on the argument that he was insane at the time he abducted Smart -- essentially arguing that they do not dispute the general facts as to what happened in the abduction but why it happened. The defense cites Mitchell's history of erratic behavior before the abduction and his belief that he is a prophet as examples of his inability understand the wrongfulness of his actions.
- The Abduction of Elizabeth Smart: Her Own Story (TIME)
- The Case of Elizabeth Smart (FindLaw's Writ)
- Insanity Defense (FindLaw)
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