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Barzee Refusing Medication; Competency Hearing Rescheduled

Barzee Refusing Medication; Competency Hearing Rescheduled



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The woman accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart remains incompetent and is refusing to take medication that might restore her mental competency.

A new evaluation of Wanda Barzee indicates the 59-year-old has made no progress toward mental competency since January, Salt Lake County Deputy District Attorney Kent Morgan said. The report was submitted to prosecutors on Monday.

Twice deemed incompetent to stand trial, Barzee is at the Utah State Hospital, where doctors are assigned to help her regain her mental health.

Barzee had been set for a competency review in 3rd District Court on Wednesday to determine if she was making "reasonable progress." But neither defense attorneys nor Judge Judith Atherton had received the evaluation, so the judge rescheduled the hearing for Sept. 16.

Barzee and her husband, Brian David Mitchell, are charged with multiple felony counts of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault for the June 2002 abduction of Elizabeth from her Salt Lake City home.

Prosecutors say the pair abducted the then-14-year-old girl so that Mitchell could take her as his plural wife, fulfilling a prophecy he said was told to him by God.

The pair were arrested nine months later, after being spotted walking with Elizabeth on a major thoroughfare in the Salt Lake suburb of Sandy.

Last month, the 51-year-old Mitchell was deemed incompetent to stand trial and has also been taken to the state hospital for treatment.

Barzee, who is divorcing Mitchell, has been at the Utah State Hospital for more than year. Court documents say she suffers from a psychotic disorder that includes symptoms of persecutory and grandiose delusions and paranoia.

A January report said Barzee had made "little or no progress" since last August and that her mental health has deteriorated since December.

In February, the Utah attorney general's office, which represents the hospital, filed a motion asking the courts to allow Barzee to be forcible medicated with anti-psychotic drugs.

"We feel that we have tried all the other avenues," Assistant Attorney General Susan Eisenman said after Wednesday's hearing.

Scott C. Williams, Barzee's attorney, opposes forced medication for his client and said after the hearing there is some question about whether such drugs could help her.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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