SALT LAKE CITY — Elizabeth Smart testified today she was raped repeatedly each day after she was abducted from her bedroom seven years ago and told she would be killed if she yelled or tried to escape.
She described Brian David Mitchell, her alleged kidnapper, as “evil, wicked, manipulative, stinky, slimy, selfish, not spiritual, not religious, not close to God.”
Smart testified in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City as part of a competency proceeding for the man charged in her 2002 kidnapping.
Mitchell has twice been found incompetent for trial in state court. Mitchell and his estranged wife were found with Smart nine months after she disappeared from her Salt Lake City home.
A judge ruled earlier this week that testimony from Smart, now 21, is relevant to the mental competency of Mitchell, who was removed from the courtroom before Smart arrived and taken to a holding cell where he could listen to the proceedings.
Smart was poised and composed while testifying for just under two hours.
She was 14 when she was abducted from her Salt Lake City home at knifepoint in the middle of the night. Shortly after her abduction, Smart said Mitchell took her to a mountain camp and performed a ceremony she said was intended to marry the two.
“After that, he proceeded to rape me,” Smart said.
She said he held her captive with a cable attached to her leg that had a 10-foot reach. That line was attached to another cable strung between two trees.
Smart said Mitchell plied her with alcohol and drugs to lower her resistance.
“He said that he would kill anybody that would come into the camp, or kill me if I ever tried to escape or yell out,” Smart testified.
Smart said Mitchell was motivated by sex and used religion to get what he wanted.
Mitchell’s defense attorneys had sought to limit Smart’s testimony to her experiences with Mitchell, without her opinions about his mental state.
The defense objected to the 39 so-called “lay witnesses” proposed by prosecutors, including Mitchell’s family, friends or workers at Utah State Hospital, because they lacked the expertise to evaluate competency.
In a ruling Monday, U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball rejected the argument as it relates to Smart, saying her testimony may help the court settle differences in the findings of experts who have evaluated Mitchell.
Experts have split opinions over Mitchell’s competency and have relied on statements from others — including Smart — and past evaluations to prepare reports for the court. Kimball’s ruling said Mitchell has been uncooperative with evaluators and refused to participate in diagnostic tests.
In the state court system, Mitchell was twice found incompetent to stand trial.
Smart was rescued nine months after her abduction when a motorist spotted her walking through a suburb with Mitchell and his estranged wife, Wanda Eileen Barzee.
Last year, Mitchell was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor.
Once an itinerant street preacher, Mitchell is said to have wanted Smart as a polygamous wife and may have taken her to fulfill a religious prophecy he laid out in a 27-page manifesto drafted in April 2002.