October 1, 2009

Elizabeth Smart testifies at competency hearing

Kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart provided dramatic testimony today in David Mitchell's long-anticipated competency-to-stand-trial hearing.

But Mitchell wasn't in the room to hear her. He was removed from the courtroom when he refused to stop singing a Mormon hymn, as he does whenever he comes to court.

Smart's testimony was ostensibly intended to establish that Mitchell was acting rationally in order to further his criminal conduct, rather than being motivated by religious delusions as the defense has maintained.

A "calm, poised, articulate" Smart testified that Mitchell was obsessed with sex and used religion to further his predatory goals. She described Mitchell as "evil, wicked, manipulative, sneaky, slimy, selfish, greedy."

But defense attorney Robert Steele said Smart's testimony hinted that Mitchell is delusional, according to coverage in the Salt Lake Tribune. Last week, he argued unsuccessfully that Smart should not be allowed to offer opinions about Mitchell's state of mind or motivations.

Mitchell has refused to submit to any psychological evaluations or diagnostic tests.

His wife and co-defendant, Wanda Barzee, has twice been found incompetent for trial and is undergoing forced treatment with antipsychotic medications. Her next competency hearing is scheduled for Oct. 23.

A transcript of Smart’s 100-minute testimony is online HERE.

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