2005 Top Story #8 - Brian Mitchell Found Incompetent

2005 Top Story #8 - Brian Mitchell Found Incompetent


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Sandra Yi reporting Elizabeth Smart's accused kidnappers will not go to trial for now. Wanda Barzee was found incompetent last year.

A judge made the same ruling for Brian David Mitchell, this summer. His hearing was drawn out, and marked by his strange behavior and outbursts in court.

Sandra Yi takes a look at our #8 story of 2005.

In July, Ed Smart expressed some relief, after a judge ruled, his daughter's alleged kidnapper is not competent to stand trial.

Ed Smart: "I think that's the most important thing. Nobody wants to see him back out on the street."

The long road that led to the judge's decision, was often marked by drama.

Last summer, Mitchell was found competent to stand trial.

Then, the judge ordered a second round of hearings, in part, because of his strange behavior in court.

Mitchell was absent for most of those hearings. He was kicked out, for singing hymns and shouting about repentance.

Roy Alires, Mitchell's Friend, February 16: "I don't know what went wrong or where he went wrong. It wasn't he Brian Mitchell I knew."

After a 6-day hearing, the judge eventually ruled Mitchell's religious beliefs are delusional. But some wondered if Mitchell was just trying to manipulate the system.

David Yocom, Salt Lake County District Attorney, July 26: "From the state's point of view, he was competent. That these were not delusions, but beliefs he held, rather quirky, if you will, but not delusional."

Mitchell's estranged wife and alleged accomplice, was also found to be incompetent to stand trial. That ruling came nearly 2 years ago.

But Wanda Barzee made news this year, because she refuses to take her medication. Next year a judge may decide, whether she can be forcibly medicated.

Barzee and Mitchell remain in the Utah State Hospital for now.

Mitchell did not attend his 90-day review hearing earlier last week. The judge ruled he is still incompetent. But she said, there was a "substantial likelihood", he would regain competency in the "foreseeable future".

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