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Mitchell Kicked Out of Courtroom Again

Mitchell Kicked Out of Courtroom Again



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A street preacher charged with kidnapping teenager Elizabeth Smart was removed from the courtroom Tuesday after a loud outburst, another disruption in the effort to gauge his mental fitness for trial.

Mitchell Kicked Out of Courtroom Again

Brian David Mitchell was in his defense chair only seconds before shouting Biblical admonitions to the court: "Awaken, arise Israel. Come forth, Babylon. Repent, repent for the kingdom."

Mitchell's loud voice could be heard from down the hall after he was taken away -- his fifth consecutive removal from the competency proceedings. The hearing resumed Tuesday after a two-month break.

Prosecution expert Noel Gardner, who testified in March that Mitchell was competent to stand trial, resumed his testimony. In spite of Mitchell's repeated interruptions, Judge Judith Atherton has allowed the hearings to continue without him.

Gardner testified that Mitchell's conduct Tuesday was "outrageous and bizarre" but not evident of a mental disease.

"I think his (religious) ideas are extraordinarily irrational but just because your irrational doesn't mean you have a mental disease. All of us hold irrational ideas," Gardner said.

Mitchell Kicked Out of Courtroom Again

Of the outbursts, defense mental health expert Stephen Golding has said Mitchell vowed to do everything possible to disrupt the trial and has said he will not allow Elizabeth -- who he contends is his wife -- to be questioned on the witness stand.

Golding didn't diagnose Mitchell as schizophrenic but also had not ruled it out, he earlier testified.

Mitchell, 51, a self-proclaimed messenger of God, is accused of kidnapping then 14-year-old Elizabeth in 2002, sexually assaulting her and keeping her as his second wife.

He and his wife, Wanda Barzee, 59, are charged with kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated burglary and attempted aggravated kidnapping. He is also charged in the attempted abduction of Elizabeth's cousin seven weeks after her kidnapping.

Barzee, who has filed for divorce, has been ruled incompetent to stand trial and is being treated at a state facility.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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