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Judge Sets Deadline for Smart Kidnapping Suspect's Competency Evaluation

Judge Sets Deadline for Smart Kidnapping Suspect's Competency Evaluation

Posted - Oct. 7, 2003 at 4:28 p.m.



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Karen Scullin ReportingFrustration in court today when the case against the alleged kidnappers of Elizabeth Smart is once again, put on hold. It will be at least another eight weeks before the case against alleged kidnapper Wanda Barzee can take another step forward.

What usually takes two months has now taken seven months, with two more to go. We learned in court today Wanda Barzee's mental review isn't complete, and today the judge and prosecutors expressed frustration over the delay.

It was March 12th when Elizabeth Smart came walking up State Street, home at last. But over six months later the court case against alleged kidnappers Brian Mitchell and Wanda Barzee is still stuck almost where it started with the court trying to get an answer

Judge Judith Atherton: "I ordered this April 9th, and it's way beyond any reasonable deadline for these evaluations regardless of information. I've not seen anything quite this slow."

Wanda Barzee's attorneys, Dave Finlayson and Scott Williams, say they simply need more time to dig for information, adding that both the state and defense doctors doing the evaluation agree with them.

Dave Finlayson, Barzee's Defense Attorney: “You need to basically start from the beginning, from the person's birth records on."

Dave Yocom, Salt Lake County District Attorney: “The issue is whether she can understand the charges against her, and she can cooperate with the defense counsel in her own defense. Those are the issues. Very simple, very easy as far as we're concerned."

But this isn't a death penalty case and a delay this long is unusual. But then, everyone admits the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping case is unusual. The high-profile nature of the case puts everyone involved under a microscope.

Scott Williams, Barzee's Defense Attorney: “The results of their conclusions and reports will be scrutinized heavily. They're going to want to do a very good job and be extremely thorough."

We're told Brian Mitchell’s mental review is complete, but because Mitchell and Barzee's cases are being tried together they have to wait until Barzee's evaluation is done to move forward. That's expected in about eight weeks.

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