Elizabeth Smart Abductors Charged

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Elizabeth Smart Abductors Charged

July 2002 Kidnap Attempt

MARCH 18--Utah prosecutors today filed kidnapping and sexual assault charges against Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee for their alleged roles in the abduction of Salt Lake City teenager Elizabeth Smart. According to a chilling probable cause statement included in the below criminal information, Mitchell warned Smart that he would "harm or kill her family if she did not comply with his demands and directions." According to Detective Mark Sharman, after Mitchell abducted Smart from her bedroom, the teenager, dressed in her pajamas, was "compelled at knife point" to walk four miles up a mountain trail to a "concealed campsite." There, Barzee directed Smart to remove her pajamas. When the teenager balked, Barzee "threatened to have Mitchell forcibly remove" the child's clothing. Barzee then aided Mitchell in the sexual assault of Smart. The married drifters were also charged with a July 2002 attempt to kidnap Jessica Wright, Smart's 18-year-old cousin. That bid, which occurred seven weeks after Smart's abduction, failed when Wright "reported seeing something come through the cut screen" of her bedroom window. Salt Lake City prosecutors will seek to have bail set at $10 million for both Mitchell and Barzee when the couple appears tomorrow for arraignment. If convicted of all the charges, the alleged kidnappers face life in prison. (7 pages)

AUDIO: Mitchell tells judge, "I'm a minister for the Lord."