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Competency Hearings End for Mitchell

Competency Hearings End for Mitchell

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The competency hearings for the man charged with kidnapping Utah teenager Elizabeth Smart ended today with lawyers arguing over his fitness to stand trial.

Prosecutors said Brian David Mitchell was just another in a long line of Utah fundamentalists with odd beliefs.

Defense lawyers said Mitchell was gripped by delusions that prevent him from making rational choices.

Judge Judith Atherton said she was reserving a decision on Mitchell's competence and that she hoped to get it done -- quote -- "fairly quickly."

The months-long competency proceeding closed as the defense tried to rebut the testimony of a prosecution expert.

Psychiatrist Noel Gardner has cast Mitchell as a narcissistic capable of withstanding trial despite "outrageous and bizarre" outbursts in court.

Mitchell was kicked out of court at the start of today's hearing for shouting a biblical admonition.

Here's what he said: "Thus sayeth the Lord God Almighty: Except ye repent, ye shall be smitten even unto destruction by war, famine, pestilence, upheaval, tempest, fire, sword ...."

It was the seventh time he has been removed for disruptive behavior.

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

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