December 10th, 2010
10:40 AM ET

Jury to resume deliberations in Elizabeth Smart case

Michael Christian and Jean Casarez
In Session

The jury will resume deliberations Friday in the trial of a homeless street preacher accused of kidnapping 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart in 2002.

The jurors will decide whether Brian David Mitchell, 57, was legally insane when he snatched Smart at knifepoint from her bedroom on June 5, 2002. Smart testified at the month-long trial that he led her to a makeshift camp in the canyons above her home, "sealed" her as his spiritual plural wife and raped her.

Jurors deliberated for three hours Thursday before breaking until 10:30 a.m. ET Friday.

U.S. District Dale Kimball instructed jurors that in order to acquit Mitchell under the insanity defense, they must determine he was mentally ill and that his illness was so severe it kept him from knowing right from wrong.

Defense attorneys mounted the insanity defense for Mitchell, trying to convince jurors that Mitchell was so delusional he could not understand his actions were wrong when he abducted Smart. Several mental health experts testified for the defense, offering diagnoses that ranged from delusional to psychotic to paranoid schizophrenic.

Prosecutors produced their own mental health experts, who testified that Mitchell was little more than a narcissistic pedophile who used religious dogma and claims he received revelations from God to get what he wanted.

Smart spent nine months with Mitchell and his legal wife, Wanda Barzee, at makeshift camps in the Utah mountains and at a homeless camp outside San Diego, California.

Now 23, Smart was the star witness for the prosecution. She said Mitchell raped her nearly every day of her captivity, some days more than once. She initially was kept tethered between two trees and treated "like an animal," she testified. Later, she was allowed to accompany Mitchell and Barzee into town, but was forced to wear flowing religious robes and a veil. She was not permitted to speak to other people, she said.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment
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