Dept. of Justice explains why Barzee not on hearing witness list

Dept. of Justice explains why Barzee not on hearing witness list

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A list of witnesses expected to testify in competency proceedings for the man charged in the 2002 abduction of Elizabeth Smart shows a notable exception--his estranged wife.

The Department of Justice sent an e-mail Thursday morning in response to some public surprise that Barzee's name does not appear on the prosecution's witness list for Brian David Mitchell's competency hearing.

Spokeswoman Melodie Rydalch wrote, "It was never our intention to use her as a witness at the competency hearing. The cooperation contemplated in the plea agreement is taking and will take many forms.


"The competency hearing is not the trial. Her testimony/observations could come into the competency hearing through another person (our expert, for example)," she continued.

Barzee pleaded guilty to federal kidnapping charges on Tuesday and is now cooperating with authorities in state and federal cases filed against Mitchell.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, that includes being willing to testify against him.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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