Elizabeth Smart Tells Court How She Survived Nine Month Abduction


Ordering her to put on tennis shoes instead of slippers, Smart testified that Mitchell told her he was taking her "hostage for ransom."

"I was shocked. I felt I was having a nightmare. It was just incredible fear," she said.

As Mithcell was leading her down a path away from her home, he held the knife to her back, according to Smart. When a police car passed by about 10 feet away, Smart recalls Mitchell telling her, "If this is the work of God, let this police car pass."

Smart said Mitchell told her if she screamed out he would kill her. He pushed her into a bush and the police car passed by.

"I remember saying if he let me go right then we wouldn't press charges. He said he knew exactly what he was doing," said Smart.

"I remember praying and pleading to find a way to escape," she said.

Testimony by Smart is expected to resume Tuesday.

Brian David Mitchell on Trial After Judge Ruled He Faked Mental Illness

Smart's mother Lois Smart took the stand ahead of her daughter and told the court how she hired Mitchell to do work around the house in 2001, knowing him only as "Immanuel."

"He looked like a clean-cut, well-kept man that was down on his luck, who just needed some help to get on with his life," she testified.

Later, she recalled being woken up by her younger daughter Mary Katherine, then 9, who slept in the same room as her older sister. Mary Katherine told her mother that Elizabeth had been taken.

"She said a man has taken Elizabeth with a gun and that we won't find her," Lois Smart testified.

After running into the kitchen, Lois Smart spotted a screen sliced open.

"My heart sank," she said, "and I yelled out to Ed, 'Call 911, she's gone.'"

The kidnapping of the girl made national headlines, the idea that a child could be ripped from her own bed playing on fears of parents across the country.

For years after Smart's rescue, the prosecution of Mitchell was delayed with his defense attorneys arguing that he was not mentally competent to stand trial. In March, a federal judge declared that Mitchell was faking mental illness and ordered him to stand trial.

Smart testified during Mitchell's October 2009 competency hearing that Mitchell forced her to walk three miles to a canyon where an impromptu marriage ceremony was performed between her and Mitchell. She told the court at the time that she was raped daily, and Mitchell prevented her from escaping by tying chains around her ankles. The chains were attached to nearby trees.

"There wasn't an actual 24-hour period he wasn't able to rape me," she said last year, going on to describe how Mitchell began to rotate between her and Barzee when Barzee became jealous of his attention.

"Wanda would get very upset with him," said Smart. "She'd say 'All you do is lust after her.'"

Mitchell became known for his outbursts and courtroom oddities during the hearing and was repeatedly removed from the courtroom after spontaneously bursting into song.

Barzee, a mother of six, pleaded guilty in November 2009 to federal kidnapping charges. Later sentenced to 15 years in prison, also asked the Smart family for forgiveness.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 12089117. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 12089117. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 12089117. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 12089117. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 12089117. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 12089117.
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...