Crime

Elizabeth Smart Testifies at Accused Kidnapper's Trial

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

A riveting day in a courtroom in Utah, as Elizabeth Smart recounted the moment she was kidnapped when she was just 14-years-old.

 

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Now 23, Smart told the jury she was in bed that night in June 2002. "I was woken up. There was a strange man's voice and something cold across my neck. I remember him saying 'I have a knife to your neck. Don't make a sound. Get out of bed and come with me or I will kill you and your family,'" Elizabeth said.

"I was shocked. I thought I was having a nightmare. It was indescribable fear."

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Elizabeth said she left the house with the defendant, Brian David Mitchell, and the two hiked three to five hours up a hill to a campsite where Mitchell's now-estranged wife, Wanda Eileen Barzee, took her into a tent.

She testified that Barzee told her to take off her pajamas and underwear and put on a robe or "she would have the defendant come in and rip them off."

Elizabeth said Mitchell entered the tent wearing a similar robe. "He said, 'What I seal on this earth will be sealed to me in the hereafter and I take you to be my wife.'" She said she screamed, "No."

"He proceeded to fight me to the ground and force the robes up," Elizabeth said quietly, pausing, "where he raped me. I begged him not to. I did everything I could to stop him. I pleaded with him not to touch me, but it didn't work."

Elizabeth's mother testified earlier on Monday. She said her other daughter, who witnessed the kidnapping, rushed into her bedroom and said, "Elizabeth is gone."

"It was utter terror," Lois Smart said. "It was the worst feeling, knowing that I didn't know where my child was. I was helpless."

Lois Smart and her children ran into Mitchell on a street in downtown Salt Lake City before the kidnapping. "He looked like a clean-cut, well-kept man that was down on his luck," she said. One of her sons encouraged her to give him money.

"I gave him $5." She also offered him a job doing work around the Smart house. He fixed a leaky roof -- the only job he did for the family.

"I do remember having a conversation with him, hoping that he would do more work. He seemed fine," she said.

But obviously things were not fine. Nine months after the kidnapping, Smart was spotted walking with Mitchell on a street in suburban Salt Lake City.

Mitchell's attorneys did not dispute the facts of the abduction. They are planning an insanity defense. Mitchell faces life in prison if he is convicted of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor.