Marriage to accused kidnapper 'hellish'

Nov. 18, 2010 at 4:40 PM
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SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- The estranged wife of the man charged with abducting teenage Elizabeth Smart of Salt Lake City testified the first year of their 25-year marriage was "hellish."

Wanda Ileen Barzee, 64 -- cooperating with prosecutors after being sentenced to 15 years in prison for her role in Smart's 2002 kidnapping -- also told defense attorney Robert Steele her husband Brian David Mitchell, 57, was "possessive" and "controlling."

"What was your first year of marriage like?" Steele asked.

"It was hellish," Barzee said.

"Why?" Steele asked.

"The arguments we would get in, and he would be possessive of me and controlling," a transcript of her testimony provided by The Sale Lake Tribune said.

Mitchell is charged with abducting Smart, then 14, from her Salt Lake City bedroom June 5, 2002, with the intent of forcing her to live as his young bride.

Smart was found March 12, 2003, in Sandy, Utah, about 18 miles from her home, in the company of Mitchell and Barzee, who were indicted for her kidnapping, but initially ruled unfit to stand trial.

Earlier in the day, Mitchell's brother Tim Mitchell, 50, a mental health counselor, testified that about five years before the alleged abduction he worried his brother was becoming "emotionally disturbed."

Brian Mitchell started demanding his family call him and his wife "Daveed" and Elladah, rather than Brian and Wanda.

"He gave me the impression that he had received some of revelation, kind of like Abraham," the transcript of Tim Mitchell's testimony indicated.

When Brian Mitchell's name-change demand continued on a later visit, "I said, 'I'm not going to call you Daveed because I don't believe that. I think you're going off the wrong way,'" Tim Mitchell testified.

He later sent a letter to his brother "saying I was worried he was becoming increasingly emotionally disturbed," Tim Mitchell testified.

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