It’s a pretty quiet day on the crime front in Missoula, and we’re glad of that. Over in Utah, though, one of the biggest crime stories in the nation is being revisited, as the accused kidnapper of Elizabeth Smart goes on trial.
In 2002, when she was 14, Smart was kidnapped from the bedroom of her Salt Lake City home and vanished.
Now 22, Smart is expected to return to Utah from serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in France to testify against Mitchell. Smart testified for the first time last year as part of a competency hearing for Mitchell, saying that within hours of her kidnapping she was forced to become Mitchell’s polygamous wife and endured repeated rapes and other abuses throughout her captivity.
When she was found nine months later, it turned out that she’d apparently been hidden in plain sight the whole time, allegedly forced to wander Salt Lake and its suburbs in a burqa-like robe with Mitchell and his now-estranged wife, Wanda Barzee.
Barzee pleaded guilty to related charges in the case and now is in federal prison. As for Mitchell, he was kicked out of the courtroom during jury selection today for singing hymns. The Associated Press has the story.