Smart Abductors Still Need Competency Exams

Smart Abductors Still Need Competency Exams


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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The drifters accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart were in court for a status hearing Tuesday, where a judge asked attorneys how much time it might take to determine if the couple is mentally competent to stand trial.

Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee need to undergo competency exams before the criminal case against them can proceed. Their next hearing was not set, but it will be at least 30 days, attorneys for both sides said.

Mitchell, 49, and Barzee, 57, are accused of kidnapping then 14-year-old Elizabeth at knifepoint from the teen's bedroom on June 5. They allegedly forced Elizabeth to live a transient lifestyle with them in Utah and California for the next nine months.

The trio was found March 12 in a Salt Lake City suburb after being sighted walking along the street.

Mitchell and Barzee are charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated burglary. Each is being held on $10 million bail in the Salt Lake County jail.

Neither defendant spoke during their separate hearings and were not in the courtroom at the same time.

Mitchell has been seen by one mental health professional; Barzee is scheduled to meet with the first one next week, attorneys said. The two have separate defense teams.

Barzee's mother, 81-year-old Dora Corbett, came to court Tuesday to get a glimpse of the daughter she hasn't seen or spoken to since her arrest.

Corbett said she was saddened about the way things had turned out for Barzee.

"She used to be busy with music, busy raising her family and then all these problems showed up," Corbett said.

She said Barzee and Mitchell were likely guilty of the accused crimes. "She sure is a different daughter than she used to be."

Corbett left court disappointed, for her daughter didn't look once into the audience.

"I wanted to tell her that I love her," she said.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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