Witness: Suspect in Smart case not faking illness

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A court-appointed forensic psychologist has testified that the man charged with kidnapping Elizabeth Smart isn't faking mental illness to avoid prosecution.

Dr. Richart DeMier on Thursday was questioned by defense attorneys on the ninth day of a U.S. District Court hearing to determine if Brian David Mitchell is competent to stand trial for the 2002 abduction.

DeMier said his conclusion was based in part on Mitchell's belief "that he is divinely ordained to fulfill a special role at the end of the world, putting himself on par with Jesus or God."

DeMier believes Mitchell isn't faking -- or malingering as a prosecution expert said -- because his symptoms are consistent with his illness.

DeMier has diagnosed the former street preacher as paranoid schizophrenic and said Mitchell is not competent to stand trial.

During the hearing, Mitchell has remained in a courthouse holding cell where he can hear and see the proceedings. Testimony indicated he had chewed up several napkins, stuffed pieces in his ears and sat with his back to a video monitor to tune out the proceedings.

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

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