Elizabeth Smart storms out of kidnapper’s trial

By James Nelson

SALT LAKE CITY (BestGrowthStock) – A visibly upset Elizabeth Smart stormed out of her accused kidnapper’s trial on Wednesday as a defense witness told jurors about the homeless street preacher’s plans to impregnate her.

Smart, who has shown little emotion through weeks of sometimes graphic testimony, stood up and walked out after Utah state psychiatrist Paul Whitehead said a key motivation of Brian David Mitchell in raping her was so that she would bear his children.

Immediately before she abruptly left, Whitehead testified that Mitchell had told Smart, then 14, about his plans to impregnate her, and that the two had discussed baby names.

Smart, now 23, appeared to glare at the witness as she left court, followed about a minute later by her mother, Lois.

Mitchell, 57, was not in court after being ejected by U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball for disrupting the proceedings by loudly singing the Christmas carols “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

The defendant was back in court one day after the trial was halted when he collapsed from what defense attorneys said was a seizure, and was taken to a local hospital. The judge made no mention of Mitchell’s medical issues as court reconvened.

Mitchell is charged with abducting Smart from her Salt Lake City home on June 5, 2002, and holding her captive for nine months with the intent of forcing her to live as his wife.

His estranged wife, Wanda Barzee, is serving a 15-year prison term for her role in the kidnapping and is cooperating with prosecutors.

Mitchell’s attorneys called Whitehead as a witness as part of an effort to prove the self-styled prophet should not be held criminally responsible for his actions because he is mentally ill.

Whitehead said he evaluated Mitchell over the course of about three years and came to the conclusion that he had a “major psychiatric illness” and “delusional disorder.”

The psychiatrist also disagreed with a characterization of Mitchell as deeply manipulative.

“I know he was seen as this master manipulator, I was not seeing that in reading the police reports,” he said.

Smart has returned for the trial from the Mormon mission she is serving in Paris, and has listened to testimony from her seat in the courtroom gallery, surrounded by family members.

In dramatic testimony during the prosecution case, she recalled that Mitchell abducted her at knifepoint from the bed she shared with her sister, marched her several miles into the foothills above Salt Lake City and raped her.

She has described her time as Mitchell’s captive as “nine months of hell.”

Smart was rescued in 2003 after she was spotted by passersby walking with Mitchell and his wife on a street in the Salt Lake City suburb of Sandy.

(Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Jerry Norton)

Elizabeth Smart storms out of kidnapper’s trial