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Hearing Delayed for Kidnapping Suspects

Hearing Delayed for Kidnapping Suspects

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Tuesday court hearing for the suspects in Elizabeth Smart's abduction has been delayed while the defendants undergo mental evaluations.

Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, will have the criminal proceedings against them put on hold while it is determined whether the pair are competent to stand trial.

In the meantime, roll call hearings, which address administrative concerns and keep track of the case, will continue. The next roll call hearing is scheduled for April 22 before 3rd District Judge Robin Reece.

Mitchell, whose polygamist writings have become a focus of the case, is accused of breaking into Elizabeth's home last June, abducting her at knifepoint and sexually assaulting her in the hills behind her home.

Mitchell and his wife allegedly kept Elizabeth as Mitchell's second wife for nine months, living a transient lifestyle in Utah and California. They were found March 12 in Sandy, a suburb about 15 miles south of Salt Lake City.

District Attorney David Yocom on Thursday filed the requests for mental competency exams for Mitchell, 49, and Barzee, 57.

The two are charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated burglary. Each is being held on $10 million bail in the Salt Lake County jail.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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