Elizabeth Smart’s Kidnapper Found Guilty
The trial ended Thursday, December 9th, with the jury debating for over 3 hours before adjourning for the night. The next morning, at 10:30AM, they had reached a guilty verdict. Wanda Barzee was sentenced to 15 years in prison previously in exchange for testimony against her husband.
CNN reports that Elizabeth testified of abduction at knife point, transmittal across state lines and near daily sexual abuse. Also she was forced to smoke cigarettes; drink alcohol and watch Mitchell have sex with his legal wife. She feared for her life and the lives of her family if she spoke to other people or attempted to escape.
U.S. Acting Attorney Carlie Christensen called her “a girl of exceptional courage.” Mitchell faces up to life in prison and will be sentenced on May 25, allowing time to complete a presentencing report. As the verdict was read, he sang hymns.
His defense attorney attempted to prove insanity as a defense. The prosecution argued the opposite and after several members of Mitchell’s family testified, including his mother and father, the burden to prove insanity to the jury was not met.
According to Mercury News: “Since there is no parole in the federal system, Mitchell would not be freed if a life sentence were imposed. If he receives a lesser sentence, he can earn up to 54 days off a year for good behavior.”
Elizabeth Smart is currently serving an LDS mission in Paris, France.