Elizabeth Smart will once again take the witness stand Tuesday to testify in the federal trial of Brian David Mitchell, who is accused of kidnapping her in June 2002.
The 23-year-old told jurors Monday that she remembers feeling a cold knife on her neck on the night she was kidnapped. She then heard a man say: “Don’t make a sound. Get out of bed and come with me, or I will kill you and your family.”
“I was shocked. I thought I was having a nightmare. It was just indescribable fear,” Smart said. After the two left the house, her 9-year-old sister Mary Katherine, who slept in the bedroom with her, ran to tell her mother of the kidnapping. Both she and their mother, Lois Smart, also testified Monday.
The defense does not deny the charges, but does dispute the fact that he calculated the kidnapping. His attorneys say that he was influenced by a worsening mental illness and religious beliefs that made him think he was doing what God wanted. Mitchell was watching and listening from a holding cell after he was removed from the courtroom for singing hymns.
Lois Smart testified that she offered Mitchell a job doing handyman work at their home. He helped to fix a leaky roof.
The kitchen window had been left open on the night of the kidnapping because Lois had burned potatoes while cooking dinner.
Smart testified that he made her put on tennis shoes and took her to a campsite. His now estranged wife, Wanda Eileen Barzee, was there, and she made Smart take off her pajamas and underwear and put on a robe. Mitchell then entered the tent and married her using lines from Mormon religious rites. Smart said that he then raped her
“I begged him not to. I did everything I could to stop him. I pleaded with him not to touch me, but it didn’t work,” she told the jury. The morning after she said Mitchell explained that he had been planning the abduction since the family’s first meeting and that she had been called by God to be his wife. Smart also said that she was shackled to a heavy metal cable for about six weeks, preventing her from fleeing.
Mitchell, 57, faces life in prison if he is convicted of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. A parallel state case was stalled after he was deemed incompetent to stand trial twice. He was ruled competent for the federal trial.
Smart is currently serving as a French mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and plans to resume her music studies at Brigham Young University next year.
With Associated Press