Elizabeth Smart Kidnapping Accomplice Tearfully Testifies
Wanda Barzee tells how she stood by as Brian David Mitchell committed rape
Wanda Barzee wept at the trial of her husband, Brian David Mitchell, as she recalled how he kidnapped and raped 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart.
Wearing shackles and a blue-and-white striped jail jumpsuit, Barzee, 65, broke down during cross-examination Friday by federal prosecutor Felice Viti in a Salt Lake City courtroom.
Barzee, who is serving a 15-years-to-life sentence after pleading guilty for her role in Smart’s kidnapping, said she felt manipulated by Mitchell, who told her he was driven by religious revelations.
As Smart calmly watched the testimony sitting with her family, Barzee also admitted that she didn’t like the attention Mitchell gave to Smart after kidnapping her in 2003 and taking her to a camp where the girl was attached to a cable.
“You felt neglected and you made your feelings known on more than one occasion to the defendant, didn’t you?” asked Viti.
“Yes,” she said softly.
Barzee said that sexual assaults on Smart were part of Mitchell’s “revelations,” and tearfully acknowledged that Mitchell said that he and Barzee were required to demonstrate sexual intercourse in front of Smart.
“I was told not to complain,” she testified.
Losing her composure on the stand, Barzee said she now realized he lied to her throughout the nine months they held Smart.
“He’s a good liar isn’t he?” asked Viti.
“Yes,” said Barzee, bursting into tears. “He’s a great deceiver.”
“There was nothing the defendant did, in your experience with him, looking back, that was kind? Charitable?”
“Do you feel sorrow for the things you did…the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart?”
“The raping of Elizabeth Smart?”
Now sobbing, Barzee said, “Yes.”
Mitchell, 57, faces life in prison if convicted of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines. After a weeklong recess next week, the trial is expected to resume on Nov. 29 and last until mid-December.