Saturday, June 11, 2011

US Kidnapping Victim Gets Justice After 8 Years Despite Defense + Perp Groupies Gaming The System

Posted by Peter Quennell

A 14-year old Mormon girl, Elizabeth Smart, was kidnapped from her bedroom in Salt Lake City on June 5 2002.

On March 12 2003 she was found alive with her abductors on the streets of a town about 18 miles from her home. Her abductors were Brian David Mitchell and his wife Wanda Ileen Barzee.

A couple of weeks ago,  Mitchell was finally handed two life terms at trial.

It sure was a strenuous process getting there.

The defense had great success over the years in lining up a number of mental health specialists to say he was not well in the head, and should of course be committed to their institutions rather than prison where, presumably, they would cure him.

Elizabeth Smart and her family and the cops and prosecutors and many or most of the American public never ever bought Mitchell’s insanity act for a moment. There grew to be a small mountain of evidence that he was faking it. He was observed to turn on and off bizarre behavior whenever it served him..

But many others, some naive do-gooders and some very nasty  did buy Mitchell’s act. And in the video at bottom you can see how the defense tried to argue that Elizabeth Smart herself was not REALLY affected by her ordeal and so Mitchell should get a break on the length of his sentence.

In this case Wikipedia has an excellent and impartial account of the psychological testimony. The defense portion of the trial, which ultimately failed to convince the jury:

Many stipulations were presented and many lay witnesses where called covering Mitchell’s alleged sanity and his alleged insanity. The defense relied most of all on the testimony of two mental health professionals, Dr. Paul Whitehead and Dr. Richard DeMier. Dr. Whitehead is the clinical director of the forensic unit at the Utah State Hospital and studied Mitchell extensively since his arrest in 2003 and concluded that Mitchell suffered from a delusional disorder which made him both incompetent to stand trial and not responsible for his crimes. Dr. DeMier testified that Mitchell suffers from both grandiose and paranoid delusions which he characterized as bizarre however he offered no opinion as to what Mitchell’s mental health was at the time of the crimes between 2002 to 2003 because he only analysed his mental state as of 2008.

And the prosecution portion of the trial which won the jury over.

A total of seven lay witnesses were called to testify on December 3, 2010 regarding Mitchell’s cruelty and religious beliefs including his two former step daughters who testified that Mitchell abused them long before he claimed to be “Immanuel” or a prophet…  A US Marshall who escorted Mitchell into the courtroom each day testified that Mitchell only sings inside the court room. The officer also said that Mitchell spent his time in the nearby holding cell following proceedings, napping or exercising. Mitchell’s behavior outside the courtroom changed only when his wife Wanda Barzee testified with Mitchell standing as close as possible to the monitor, not moving during the duration of her time on the stand….

The prosecution’s last witness was Dr Welner, a forensic psychiatrist from New York City, who spent more than 1,600 hours working on a report on Mitchell…. Dr Welner testified that Mitchell does not suffer from a mental illness, but rather pedophilia, anti-social personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder adding that to know Brian Mitchell is to be fooled by Brian Mitchell. Amongst other things he testified that Mitchell would abandon his revelations when it suited him which showed they weren’t sincere and that Mitchell used blessings to control his wife and used threats and force as a way to control Elizabeth Smart.

A life sentence eight years in the making. Nice to see a prosecution stick to its guns and achieve justice, despite such strenuous attempts to derail it.


while i agree that barzee and mitchell deserved whatever the justice system could dole out to them, there are other aspects of this case that require scrutiny that will not be forthcoming. richard ricci’s death, the smarts’ silence and their dealings with the SLPD…elizabeth is one victim in this case but the ricci family is another.

Posted by mojo on 06/11/11 at 06:53 PM | #

Just what is this with the Perp Groupies? Does this phenomenon go back to High School where one always routed for the home team no matter what?

I remember no one even applauded an extraordinary achievement if it just happened to be on the other team. If something is amiss no fear – my team is always right and the best. America is great – Italy is corrupt. Amanda is innocent – the prosecutor made up the evidence. 

Very true that this is just the beginning of the drawn out Knox story. How many are now on the payroll funded by those blessed souls (I believe Edda said something to this effect) who contribute to the defense fund?

I believe we have now have the parents Kurt and Edda, the stepfather with all of his aliases, the aunt, the uncle, Madison and then all the carpetbaggers going along for the ride.

Accept the fact that Amanda is guilty – never – there is a fine life giving interviews, dishing out sob stories and playing constantly on the computer.  The blogs are simply deplorable but make for a good read on a rainy day.  CNN cannot stoop lower.

Dear Amanda will go down in history as the wonderful wholesome American girl who was unjustly railroaded by the big mean prosecutor.  What an extremely sad story for the Kercher family.

Posted by Jade Tree on 06/12/11 at 12:19 PM | #

26 November 2017. The cold case (because it was seemingly solved) of Elizabeth Smart suddenly heats up again.

Elizabeth Smart appears throughout a two-hour documentary, like Knox on Netflix, that we are seeing rotating on cable TV describing her victimhood on steroids.

This is a precursor to a Lifetime Movie (Lifetime made quite a good one of Knox) now in production, which Elizabeth Smart was said to be disappointed not to star in.

Hmmm…. Now I might have phrased the top post slightly differently.

Her version of the kidnapping from her bedroom is that the guy breaks in with no alarms going off, finds her in the dark (amazing), holds a knife at her throat for the next x hours until they are way up the hillside. Rapes her 3-4 times daily. Chains her up and starves her.

So to the problems pointed out in various Comments.

The guy had met her earlier that same day; had he made an arrangement? Why the initial odd behavior of the parents that makes sense only if they thought she was a runaway?

Why no physical signs on her of any of the above? Why did she not run away or reveal herself at a party she was at or at restaurants? Why did she say “I am not that RUNAWAY” to the police who accosted her? Why did she say to those same cops “What are you going to do with my FRIENDS?”

My guess FWIW after some new reading:

Her father was an exceptionally hard micro-manager; she was so shy she was almost mute at times. She DID seek liberation from him and/or an adventure.

The kidnapper DID have illegal sex with a 14 year old, willing or not (she says it was willing but under threat)  and for that he deserved his life sentence.

But she was treated more or less okay, and the very strong hold over her was solely “religious”. We know now that polygamists have frequently kidnapped under-age girls uncomplainingly in that area and marry them, and/or build these holds over them.

Almost impossible to admit all of this to her family, though. So the lurid victim story evolves to appease them.  Mojo above is right: poor Ricci DIED here, from a stroke after being falsely accused and locked up for a long period.

None of the Smarts including Elizabeth have ever seem concerned about that. They did him no favors. A death is a high price for an adventure.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 11/26/17 at 08:41 PM | #
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Or to previous entry Elisa Benedetti: Another Sad And Unneccesary Death Of A Young Woman Living In Perugia