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Witness: Suspect in Smart case has disorder

Witness: Suspect in Smart case has disorder



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The man charged in the 2002 abduction of Elizabeth Smart has a delusional disorder and exhibited deviant sexual behavior and paranoia as a teen, a forensic psychologist testified Tuesday.

Psychologist Stephen Golding was the first defense witness in the federal competency hearing for 56-year-old Brian David Mitchell.

Golding previously found Mitchell incompetent to stand trial in a state case involving the abduction that grabbed the attention of the nation.

Golding said experts who have testified for the prosecution were either ignoring or misrepresenting early indications of Mitchell's pre-psychotic behavior as a teen.

He also challenged the testimony of one witness who cited Mitchell's use of strategic thinking as possible evidence of competency.

"Engaging in strategic behavior is not inconsistent with delusional thinking," Golding said, adding that people who are delusional can be high-functioning in some areas of their life.

"Mr. Mitchell's ego, his self, was constantly warring with what he thought he needed to do," Golding explained. "Over time it developed into a pretty frank delusional disorder."

Prosecutors contend Mitchell is competent to stand trial on charges of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines.

Golding said the current court proceedings are a distraction for Mitchell, and he cited an interview of Smart by mental health evaluators after she was found in 2003.

Smart said Mitchell believed God would eventually raise him up so he could battle and defeat the antichrist, Golding said.

"He wants to get to the next level," Golding said.

Smart was 14 when she was taken from her bedroom in June 2002. She was found in March 2003 walking a suburban street with Mitchell and his now-estranged wife, Wanda Eileen Barzee, who has pleaded guilty to kidnapping in the federal case.

The competency hearing is expected to last through Friday.

Smart has not attended the current proceedings but her parents, Ed and Lois Smart, have been present.

The competency decision rests with U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Jennifer Dobner Writer

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