November 16th, 2010
02:03 PM ET

Prosecution rests in Elizabeth Smart kidnapping case

Elizabeth Smart has testified she was raped and tied to a tree during her captivity.

Prosecutors rested their case Tuesday in the federal kidnapping trial of the self-professed prophet accused of kidnapping Utah teen Elizabeth Smart.


Ten witnesses testified during the government’s case, including Smart, 23, who testified for three days about the ordeal. Brian David Mitchell faces life in prison if he is convicted of kidnapping and transporting a minor across state lines for sexual purposes.

Smart was 14 when she was taken at knifepoint from her bed early on June 5, 2002. She testified that she was led to a primitive mountainside camp, “sealed” in marriage to her captor, raped and tethered between two trees “like an animal.”

She was freed on March 12, 2003, as she, Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, returned from a winter trip to California.

The focus of the trial now shifts to Mitchell, 57, who is raising an insanity defense. His lawyers do not deny what happened, but claim Mitchell was so mentally disturbed that he did not know what he was doing was wrong.

Mitchell, who has sung hymns in court since December 2004, switched Tuesday to a holiday theme. His songs included Christmas hits such as “Joy to the World,” “O, Come All Ye Faithful” and “Silent Night.”

In what has become a daily routine, U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball advised Mitchell he had a right to be in court but waived that right if he continued to sing. Mitchell was escorted, singing, from the courtroom.

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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Elizabeth Smart • Utah
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. bubba

    Let's now assume he's guilty–that is for the jury to decide.
    It's possible they got the wrong guy, who knows.

    November 16, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • what?

      dude they found her with him. How can you say they caught the wrong guy?

      November 16, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • 5t1v

      bubba - the defense doesnt deny what happened. 😉

      November 16, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sortanow

      Have you not been paying attention? IF he's the right guy – There is no one dening he's the right guy. Now hang him.

      November 16, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |

      @Bubba. He admitted to taking her.

      November 16, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dennis Buller

      It`s idiots like you that have turned our justice system into a joke!

      November 16, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jillian

      bubba is intentionally trying to get a rise out of people. some people have nothing better to do than post stupid comments that they know will get lots of responses. they're called trolls.

      November 16, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • catlady


      November 16, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Name*Mjs

    "Bubba" is it, this guy should rot in the he'll he made that little girl suffer! He's not denying it so I would say they got "the right guy"!

    November 16, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. stef

    Are you serious? Its possible they have the wrong guy? "Bubba" u are clearly mistaken. Have you even followed this case from the beginning when she was taken. Its obviously him and he will be convicted, he just may spend life in an insane asylum instead of prison.

    November 16, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. RickyL


    November 16, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ckdeda

    Bubba do you anything about this case?!?! Apparently not, so until that point just shut up.

    November 16, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. hum

    Maybe parenthood should be a privilage.
    makes me sometimes wonder about the motivation for controlled breeding practices

    however ... don't much care for overlording anothers life,

    .awwww the irony of life's toils and troubles

    November 16, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Beth

    Bubba your as retarded as your name sounds.

    November 16, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      a little harsh, perhaps? If he hasn't been paying attention, thats on him. Wasting time on the subject it quiet useless.

      November 16, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Speedro

      Mistaking your for you're is also considered a little bit retarded.

      November 16, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Teriander

    Insanity defense is only an excuse for criminals to avoid a realistic sentence. I just hope the jury isn't that stupid.

    November 16, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Opie

    Bubba you must have been on OJ's jury.

    November 16, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. George Jetson

    The singing is a nice try, but if he's sane and oriented enough to switch to Christmas songs to match the season, then he's sane and oriented enough to be punished just like every other child rapist.

    November 16, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |

      I was just reading up on the insanity defense and, according Wikipedia, Utah doesn't permit it.

      I bet that's why the defense attorney wanted to move the trial to another state.

      November 16, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Icthruyou

      That's exactly what I thought! Not Insane enough!

      November 16, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      I think Wikipedia is wrong on Utah not allowing the insanity defense. But even if the trial had been moved to a different state, they would still have to apply Utah law. A change of venue does not change the law that applies.

      November 16, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • berational

      Plus, he stops singing when put in a room to view the proceedings. He is sane!

      November 16, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • bll

      Whether Utah allows the insanity defense is irrelevant. This is a FEDERAL trial, in federal district court. Federal law, not state law, is being applied, and federal law allows the insanity defense. Not that the defendant will succeed with it – he is not insane, but a cold, calculating predator who more than deserves whatever he gets.

      November 16, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |

    Can the jury find him "GUILTY by reason of Insanity"? If I was a juror I'd be kind of torn between finding him guilty and finding him "not guilty by reason of insanity" because to me, he is as guilty as he is crazy.

    November 16, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BD76

    The insanity defense is bs. He knew what he was doing was wrong..that is why he hide her, covered her face, kept her chained up and took her out of Utah. The same thing goes for his wife. I saw an interview with her children, and she had a history of abusing her children and of cruelty. She deserves just as much jail time as him.

    November 16, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. gabby

    He is not insane. He's a pedophile. There's no denying there's something very wrong with him and his fascination with young girls but he's simply a filthy sadistic pedophile. He knew exactly what he was doing and that it was wrong – why else would he hide in the mountains and take her to California when it was obvious that they were going to be apprehended in Utah?

    November 16, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bubba

    Stupid is as stupid does..

    November 16, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Steven Brown

    Guilty on all counts! Plus, guilty on 173 counts of contempt for singing in court, $100 fine on each count.

    November 16, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
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