Testified in Brian Mitchell’s competency hearing
The American student Elizabeth Smart has, for the first time, described her nine-month kidnap ordeal after being snatched by a stranger from her bedroom in Salt Lake City seven years ago.
Taking the stand for the first time Ms Smart, now a 21-year-old college student, testified yesterday that her captor had raped the then-14-year-old three or four times a day, kept her tied up with a cable around her leg, and threatened to kill her if she tried to escape.
Asked by a prosecutor to describe Brian David Mitchell, the self-described prophet accused of holding her captive for nine months, Ms Smart replied: “Evil, wicked, manipulative, stinky, slimy, greedy, selfish, not spiritual, not religious, not close to God.”
Ms Smart gave her horrifying account in federal court as part of a proceeding over whether Mr Mitchell is mentally competent to stand trial.
The 55-year-old one-time street preacher has been behind bars since 2003 — mostly in a state mental hospital — but has yet to stand trial. Twice he 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.
Ms Smart was just 14 when she was abducted from her bedroom in the middle of the night. In a surprising turn that transfixed the country, she 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.
Mr 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‘.
“He told me he was a prophet,” Ms Smart said under cross-examination by Mr 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 Ms Barzee. Ms Smart said she believed Mr Mitchell always knew that he could be punished for her kidnapping and understood how the court system worked.