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Elizabeth Smart returning home to testify in Mitchell trial

Elizabeth Smart returning home to testify in Mitchell trial

By Pat Reavy | Posted - Oct. 25, 2010 at 8:32 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Elizabeth Smart will be flying back to Utah from her LDS mission in France next month to testify in the trial against the man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting her.

The U.S. Attorney's Office Monday released its list of possible witnesses and rebuttal witnesses in Mitchell's trial, which is scheduled to begin Monday. On the list are three members of the Smart family including Elizabeth; Lois Smart, Elizabeth's mother; and Mary Katherine Smart, Elizabeth's younger sister who was instrumental in identifying the mysterious former worker at the Smart house who allegedly broke into her and Elizabeth's bedroom in 2002 and took Elizabeth from her bed.

A little over a year ago, Elizabeth Smart took the witness stand during Mitchell's federal competency hearing, delivering a frank and often times shocking testimony of her nine months in captivity, discussing many details of her ordeal in public for the first time. She called Mitchell a master manipulator who used religion as a front to get sex, drugs, alcohol and anything else he wanted.

She is once again expected to be the key witnesses in the government's case.

Sources tell the Deseret News that after Elizabeth Smart is done testifying at the trial, she will return to Paris to complete the remaining months of her mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Wanda Barzee, Mitchell's estranged wife who pleaded guilty in federal court to kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor in relation to Smart's abduction and in state court to one count of conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping, is not on the witness list.

Part of her plea deal was contingent on Barzee's continued cooperation in prosecuting Mitchell. She gave several videotaped interviews to investigators prior to her sentencing. She was not included, however, in the prosecution's list of 22 possible witnesses and 25 possible rebuttal witnesses.

Barzee's mother, 89-year-old Dora Corbett, is listed, however, as a possible rebuttal witness.

Also on the list of possible witnesses for the prosecution are some of the FBI agents and police officers that were the first to find Mitchell, Barzee and Smart in Sandy in 2003, and the first to interview Mitchell in the following days. Former store owners who saw the trio dressed in veils and burkas walking around Salt Lake County are also on the witness list.

On the list of rebuttal witnesses are some of the experts used in Mitchell's competency hearing, including Dr. Noel C. Gardner and Dr. Michael Welner. In addition to Smart's testimony, many considered Welner's testimony as being key for the government during Mitchell's competency hearing. Welner is a renowned forensic psychiatrist from New York City. His 206-page report was called the most extensive study of Mitchell to date.

Another possible rebuttal witness is LouRee Gayler, one of Wanda Barzee's daughters, who shocked the courtroom during Mitchell's competency hearing by revealing that when she was a teen, Mitchell and Barzee tried to punish her by cooking and serving her pet rabbit to her unknowingly for dinner.

Some former employees from the Utah State Hospital, where Mitchell was housed for many years, were also listed as potential witnesses.

Mitchell's trial is scheduled to begin with jury selection on Monday.

E-mail: preavy@ksl.com

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Pat Reavy

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