Mitchell claimed God delivered Elizabeth Smart to him

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SALT LAKE CITY — After a long weekend, the trial for Brian David Mitchell continued Monday with prosecutors using Mitchell's words against him. They played the interview Mitchell did with investigators immediately after his arrest.

After his arrest in March of 2003, Brian David Mitchell opened up to FBI agent George Dougherty, admitting he had married Elizabeth Smart and consummated the union. Mitchell told him he knew if Elizabeth was found, he and Wanda Barzee would go to jail. He said the world would view him as a monster, a child predator and a sexual deviant.

He was incredibly intimidating.

–Jill Flemming Ogilvie

On the witness stand, Dougherty, seen in a past interview with KSL, described several lengthy interviews he did with Mitchell, whom he described as intelligent and very cautious.

Video of Mitchell's interrogation

During the first half of the video, Mitchell appears to be in control of the interview. Even as a Salt Lake police officer and an FBI agent notch up the pressure during the interrogation, Mitchell remains collected, referring to himself as Immanuel David Isaiah.

At the beginning of the interrogation, both officers are on one side of a table. Later, the officers are inches away from Mitchell's face, badgering him.

But Mitchell answers everything in theological terms. He tells the officers he is God's servant. And when pressed about kidnapping Smart, he says, "I'm telling you, the Lord God Almighty delivered her to us."

When pressed further about raping Smart, Mitchell replied, "I've only done what I've been commanded to do."

At another point during the interview, he said of Smart's nine months with him: "She's had a glorious experience." The officers also accused him of setting himself for a later insanity plea by using such religious rhetoric.

"You think I want to go to the mental hospital? You think that's what I want? The mental hospital would be the worst thing for me," Mitchell responded.

At another point during the interview, Mitchell accuses one of the officers of assaulting him when the officer starts poking him with his finger.

"Every single one of your questions are trick questions. Every single one of your questions is designed to trap me," Mitchell said.

When again asked about having sex with Smart, he replies in the video: "Your accusations are false. Your questions are false and immaterial."

After about an hour, Mitchell asks to take a bathroom break. After he returns and the officers resume videotaping, Mitchell starts singing hymns. On the video, Mitchell screams about a dozen times, "Get thee behind me, Satan!" to the officers. He then remained quiet with his eyes closed while they continued to ask him questions.

Witnesses saw fear

Earlier Monday, others who saw Mitchell and Smart in San Diego testified that they saw fear in Smart's eyes.

Jill Flemming Ogilvie, a retired San Diego police officer who has lived in Lakeside, Calif., testified that she saw Mitchell, Smart and his wife, Wanda Barzee, walking around Lakeside several times in 2003. The faces of the women were always covered, she said.

Whenever they walked, Mitchell would always lead and the others would follow "like little ducks in a row," Ogilvie said. Smart was always in the middle. The whole situation immediately raised red flags with Ogilvie.

"Something was wrong with the picture. Clearly, it was out of the norm. The man was clearly the leader of the group. The girl was out of place. The girl was school age but obviously not in school," she said. "My professional gut reaction was something was wrong."

Ogilvie tried to engage in conversation with the trio. "He gave me a look that was so intimidating, so encompassing," she said of Mitchell's reaction. "It was cold, it was harsh and it stopped me. … This individual has a manner a personality that is much larger than anyone I've ever encountered. He actually controlled the situation. He was incredibly intimidating."

When describing Smart, she said she saw fear in her eyes. Other testimony Monday morning was given by a librarian from Lakeside who also saw the three around town and thought something was wrong.

"I think he's as smart as a fox. I think he's incredibly intelligent and he's able to play the game on an incredible level. I do not think he's insane at all," Ogilvie said.

After those encounters, Ogilvie reported the group to the San Diego sheriff's office and the FBI, but she didn't hear back from them until after Elizabeth was found.

She says Elizabeth is a survivor.

"It was incredible to see her eyes because I think the eyes are the window to the soul. That girl is back, 100 percent strong, nothing can bring that girl down again," she said.

A Las Vegas man who saw the three at a fast-food restaurant while traveling back to Utah from California, called police because he said he, too, saw fear in Smart's eyes.

"The look in this little girl's face — afraid, very scared," he said.

Video shows Mitchell after arrest in Lakeside

Also Monday, a recording of Mitchell's court appearance in Lakeside after he was arrested for breaking into a church was played for the jury. In the video, Mitchell calls himself Michael Jensen and calmly answers questions when asked where he is living and where he plans to stay, lying to the judge that he, his wife and daughter were staying with friends.

In the video, Mitchell says his week is jail was like Jonah being swallowed by the whale and tells the judge that he is a changed man.

The prosecution was expected to rest its case this week. Then the defense will start calling witnesses to the stand. It's at that point that many speculate the defense will call expert witnesses to testify as part of its insanity defense.

Once the defense rests, prosecutors will likely call its own expert witnesses during rebuttal, and as several legal experts have predicted, the trial will likely become a battle of psychiatrists and psychologists debating whether Mitchell was so mentally ill during the nine months he kidnapped Smart that he did not know right from wrong.

Elizabeth Smart and her parents listened to testimony inside the courtroom Monday. Mitchell once again was removed because he would not stop singing.


Story written by Pat Reavy with contribution from Sandra Yi.


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