Elizabeth Smart’s Kidnapper Apologizes at Trial

Nov. 17 2009, Published 7:13 a.m. ET

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The woman who kidnapped the then 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart apologized on Monday for “the pain and suffering” she caused Smart and her family.

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Wanda Barzee begged forgiveness in a hearing in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Tuesday, telling the court she was “humbled as I realize how much Elizabeth Smart has been victimized and the role that I played in it.”

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She continued, “I am so sorry, Elizabeth, for all the pain and suffering I have caused you and your family. It is my hope that you will be able to find it in your heart to forgive me.”

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Barzee, now 64, admitted helping her then-husband Brian David Mitchell, 55, kidnap Smart at knifepoint from her home in 2002. Barzee then took part in a woodland ceremony where Elizabeth was “married” to Mitchell. During her captivity, Smart was tethered to a tree and was allegedly raped at least once a day over a period of nine months.

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Elizabeth’s father, Ed Smart, told the court: "I just hope that Wanda realizes what she did and that it was absolutely wrong and absolutely horrible."

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Mitchell has been declared mentally unfit to stand trial. Barzee was also initially declared unfit, however a judge ruled that doctors could forcibly medicate her.

Following 15 months of treatment with anti-psychotic drugs she was declared competent. She entered guilty pleas to charges of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor. She could face a life sentence for the kidnapping charge and up to 15 years on the other count.



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