Competency Hearings Set In E. Smart Kidnap Case


Two mental health experts have found Wanda Barzee incompetent to stand trial for kidnapping Elizabeth Smart, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. Barzee’s defense team surprised a judge and prosecutors by asking for a competency hearing to challenge the experts’ conclusions. The closed hearing has been set for Jan. 9. A similar hearing was set Jan. 27 for Barzee’s husband and co-defendant, Brian David Mitchell.

Barzee’s evaluators concluded she “suffers from a psychotic mental illness which severely impairs her present capacity to engage in reasoned choice of legal strategies and options, and/or to testify relevantly.”

Mitchell, whose competency is undecided, has a 50-50 chance of going to trial. Mitchell, who calls himself Immanuel, has refused to cooperate with his defense team, and also declined to talk with the two experts assigned to assess his mental health. If and when Mitchell is tried, he is not expected to fight the charges, which he apparently believes are part of God’s divine plan.


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