Friday, October 2, 2009

"Prophet" accused of abduction and rape

Elizabeth Smart says she was raped daily

Elizabeth Smart, left, walks out of the federal courthouse after testifying at a competency hearing for her alleged kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, Oct. 1 2009, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Colin Braley)
SALT LAKE CITY -- At knifepoint, Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her girlhood bedroom, she said, then led to a secluded mountain campsite, where a self-proclaimed prophet made her his 14-year-old polygamous "wife" in a quickie ceremony.
"After that he proceeded to rape me," Smart, now 21, said, sharing for the first time publicly her account of the ordeal.
Brian David Mitchell, a one-time street preacher, is accused of holding Smart captive for nine months. He has been behind bars since 2003 - mostly in a state mental hospital - but has yet to stand trial.
At a court proceeding held Thursday over whether Mitchell, 55, is mentally competent to stand trial, Smart provided the horrifying account of her 2002 abduction.
She testified that her captor raped her three or four times a day and threatened to kill her if she yelled or tried to escape. She was on the stand for nearly two hours, and her voice never wavered.
Asked by a prosecutor to describe Mitchell, Smart replied: "Evil, wicked, manipulative, stinky, slimy, greedy, selfish, not spiritual, not religious, not close to God."
Smart was rescued in March 2003 after a motorist spotted her walking the streets of a Salt Lake City suburb with Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Eileen Barzee.
Twice Mitchell has been ruled mentally incompetent in state court, and he has often demonstrated bizarre behavior, including incessantly singing hymns in the courtroom and once yelling at a judge to repent.
A federal judge ruled earlier this week that Smart's testimony is relevant to the question of Mitchell's competency. Mitchell's competency hearing is not set to begin until Nov. 30, but Smart testified early because she is going on a religious mission for the Mormon church in Paris.
In the days immediately following the 2002 kidnapping, Mitchell held Smart captive with the help of a 10-foot cable tethered to a line between two trees and bolted to her leg, she said.
"He told me he was a prophet," Smart said under cross-examination by Mitchell's lawyer. "He said he was the voice of God on Earth and that he would reign over God's children until Jesus came."
But she also said his religious revelations seemed to come only when he wanted something, or when he was trying to calm his wife. Smart said she believed Mitchell always knew that he could be punished for her kidnapping and understood how the court system worked.
She said he gave her an alias - Augustine Marshall - and told her what to say to police if they were ever questioned. He also bragged about skirting previous accusations of sexual abuse and fooling others, Smart said.
Never in nine months did Mitchell appear confused or out of control, Smart testified: "He was a very capable, intelligent human being."
Smart had wanted to face her alleged tormentor Thursday, said her father, Ed Smart, but Mitchell was removed from the courtroom for disruptive behavior before Smart arrived. He watched the proceedings from a holding cell.
"She actually wanted to face him," Ed Smart said. "She asked if he could be muzzled and sit and watch."
Smart's parents and other family members were in the courtroom to support her. Her father had already heard much of the story but said later outside court he had learned a few new details. He did not elaborate.
"I was absolutely amazed at her strength," he said, his eyes teary. "I don't know how she could have done a better job than she did."
Smart said Mitchell showed her pornography and plied her with alcohol and drugs to lower her resistance to his sexual advances. Once, Smart said, she tried to fight Mitchell off by biting him. Smart said there was some respite - usually when Barzee became upset over Mitchell's relationship with Smart - but it never lasted.
Mitchell is charged in state court with kidnapping and sexual assault. Last year, he was indicted on federal charges of kidnapping and transporting a minor across state lines. In both the state and federal cases, experts have split over Mitchell's competency.
Mitchell's lawyers maintain he is incompetent and suggested that evidence of his delusions can be found in his religious rambling and writings, including a 27-page manifesto he called "The Book of Emmanuel David Isaiah."
Smart said he read from the book repeatedly during her captivity, often sang hymns and laced his conversations with religious language. Throughout her captivity, Smart was forced to wear a white, ankle-length robe, a head scarf and two veils across her face.

1 comment:

sparks said...

The headline of the story on this page only shows the editors bias against Christians. That animal is no prophet. He is an evil beast along with his wife. I hope they both get the punishment they deserve. Unfortunately evil is mistaken for insanity. I hope the jury doesn't buy into it.