Psychiatrist: Brian Mitchell not insane

Dec. 8, 2010 at 5:19 PM
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SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- A New York psychiatrist who testified Wednesday could be the final prosecution witness in the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping trial in Salt Lake City.

Dr. Michael Welner, who examined defendant Brian David Mitchell in 2003, agreed with previous rebuttal witnesses that the accused kidnapper is not insane, the Deseret News reported. Defense witnesses said that he is mentally ill.

Mitchell is on trial in federal court on charges that he abducted Smart, then 14, from her bedroom in Salt Lake City in 2002 and held her captive for nine months as a "second wife," repeatedly raping her.

Welner said he interviewed 58 people for a 206-report on Mitchell. They included Smart and Wanda Barzee, Mitchell's wife.

He said Smart had the opportunity to observe Mitchell's behavior over a long period of time "when his guard was down."

"It was a unique and invaluable opportunity to learn from someone who spent so much time day-to-day with Brian Mitchell," Welner said.

Welner said he does not believe Mitchell has a religious delusion. He cited many examples of apparent insincerity, including his threatening Smart to keep quiet during a search and hiding in a bush when he saw a police car, even though he said it was up to God whether they were discovered.

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