Wife of accused Smart kidnapper resumes testimony

SALT LAKE CITY — The estranged wife of the man charged with abducting Elizabeth Smart in 2002 told jurors today that he began stalking young girls about a year earlier so he could practice polygamy.

Wanda Eileen Barzee was beginning her second day of testimony in the trial of Brian David Mitchell in Salt Lake City’s U.S. District Court.

Barzee said Mitchell told her in fall 2001 they needed to find a girl to take because no one wanted to join the religious society he wanted to form.

“We were given the commandment to take young girls between 10 to 14 years old,” Barzee said. “He would go downtown and stalk young girls and find out where they live.”

She said an April 2002 revelation directed them to prepare for Mitchell to “go forth” to receive their first wife on June 4, 2002.

Smart was abducted June 5, 2002.

“I didn’t know who the young woman was going to be, I had no idea,” Barzee said. “It was what we were supposed to do.”

Mitchell is charged with kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines. If convicted, the 57-year-old former street preacher could spend the rest of his life in prison.


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