Woman sentenced to prison in Elizabeth Smart case PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by JENNIFER DOBNER,Associated Press Writer   
Friday, 21 May 2010 15:11

 

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A federal judge on Friday ordered a woman who pleaded guilty to kidnapping Elizabeth Smart to spend 15 years in prison, with credit for about seven years she's already served.

U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball said Wanda Barzee will serve the sentence at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell, in Fort Worth, Texas.

Barzee, 64, pleaded guilty in November to federal charges of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines in Smart's abduction. She also faces sentencing Friday in state court, where in February she pleaded guilty, but mentally ill, in the attempted kidnapping of Smart's cousin, Olivia Wright, about six weeks after Smart's abduction.

Barzee has agreed to testify in pending state and federal cases against her now-estranged husband, Brian David Mitchell.

Smart was 14 in 2002 when she was kidnapped at knifepoint from her bedroom. She was found nine months later, in March 2003, walking the streets of a Salt Lake City suburb with Barzee and Mitchell.

"I know the gravity of my crimes and how serious they are," Barzee said in court Friday. "I'm just so sorry again for all the pain and suffering I caused upon the Smart family."

Kimball also ordered Barzee to serve five years' probation and register as a sex offender. Barzee will be about 70 when she's released from prison.

Elizabeth's mother, Lois Smart, spoke in court for the first time ever Friday.

"Wanda, what you did to our family and to our girl Elizabeth was wrong," Lois Smart said directly to Barzee. "It was wrong and it was evil. ... Wanda, we suffered, but more than that, Elizabeth suffered. She was tortured and tormented."

Smart, now 22, is serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Paris.

Barzee's cases have been repeatedly delayed because she was twice deemed incompetent to stand trial.

Barzee was court-ordered by a state judge to undergo treatment with anti-psychoctic medications, and last fall doctors at the Utah State Hospital said her competency had been restored. The finding prompted plea negotiations with state and federal prosecutors.

Mitchell, 56, is scheduled for a federal court trial beginning Nov. 1. A state case has been stalled because Mitchell was also deemed incompetent for trial. A state judge declined to order forced medication in his case.

At a federal court hearing last year, Smart said she was taken from her home to a mountain campsite where she was forced into a polygamous marriage with Mitchell and endured repeated rapes and other abuse. She was held captive for nine months.

A one-time itinerant street preacher, Mitchell allegedly wanted Smart as a second wife so that he could fulfill a religious prophecy laid out in a 27-page manifesto he drafted in early 2002.

 

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