The woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart will be released from prison

Elizabeth Smart said Tuesday that the Utah parole board's decision to release one of the people who abducted...

Posted: Sep 12, 2018 10:16 AM
Updated: Sep 12, 2018 10:16 AM

Elizabeth Smart said Tuesday that the Utah parole board's decision to release one of the people who abducted her was surprising and "incomprehensible."

Wanda Eileen Barzee wasn't expected to be released for at least another five years.

Corrections system

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal offenses

Elizabeth Smart

Kidnappings and abductions

Misc people

Prison release

Prisons and jails

Continents and regions

Criminal law

Law and legal system

North America

Sentencing

Southwestern United States

The Americas

United States

Utah

Parole and probation

However, the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole said it hadn't credited her sentence in the state system with the time she served in federal prison.

As such, Barzee, now 72, will leave prison September 19.

Barzee and her husband, Brian David Mitchell, were convicted of abducting Smart, then 14, at knifepoint from her Salt Lake City bedroom in June 2002.

Smart was found nine months later, walking down a street in the suburb of Sandy with Barzee and Mitchell, a drifter and self-described prophet who called himself Emmanuel. He had done some handyman work at the Smarts' home.

Just after her abduction, Mitchell took her to a wooded area behind her home and performed a mock marriage ceremony with her, Smart later said. During the nine months of her captivity, she was held captive in Utah and California.

Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison in 2011 -- nearly nine years after Smart's abduction.

Smart, in a statement, said she was disappointed by the decision.

"It is incomprehensible how someone who has not cooperated with her mental health evaluations or risk assessments and someone who did not show up to her own parole hearing can be released into our community," she said. "I appreciate the support, love and concern that has already been expressed and will work diligently to address the issue of Barzee's release as well as to ensure changes are made moving forward to ensure this doesn't happen to anyone else in the future."

The horrific ordeal

During Mitchell's trial, Smart testified she was taken from her bed and marched up a rugged mountain path in her red silk pajamas.

When they reached Mitchell's remote camp, Smart testified she was "sealed" to her captor in a marriage ceremony, raped and shackled between two trees with a metal cable. She said she was degraded and treated "like an animal."

Smart said she was raped nearly every day during nine months in captivity and forced to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and watch Mitchell have sex with his legal wife, Barzee.

She was forced to wear robes and a veil in public and was not permitted to speak to other people. Smart said she feared Mitchell would act on his threats to kill her and her family if she did.

She said Mitchell told her their marriage was preordained and that she would be by his side as he took seven times seven wives and successfully battled the Antichrist. They would hold exalted positions in God's new kingdom, she was told.

Barzee's trial

In November 2009, Barzee pleaded guilty to federal charges. In exchange for her plea, she agreed to cooperate in the state and federal cases against Mitchell, her husband.

The next year, she was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. She was released from a federal prison in Texas after completing her sentence in 2016 -- and returned to the Utah prison system to serve a state sentence.

That's because she had also pleaded guilty in state court to attempted kidnapping in connection in a plot to kidnap Smart's cousin.

The month after they kidnapped Smart, Barzee and Mitchell attempted to break into the home of Smart's cousin but were unsuccessful, prosecutors said.

Barzee was sentenced to one to 15 years in state prison to be served concurrently with her federal sentence.

On Tuesday, the parole board said she has now completed both her sentences.

"Upon further review and advice from legal counsel, the Board must count time spent in federal custody toward Ms. Barzee's state sentence," the board said in a statement. "Therefore Ms. Barzee's state sentence ends on September 19, 2018."

For her part, Smart detailed her nine-month-long ordeal in her book "My Story." She is now a child safety activist.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 245847

Reported Deaths: 5356
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto16717168
Hinds15748310
Harrison12806188
Rankin10334204
Jackson9996172
Lee8666135
Madison7994158
Jones6112108
Forrest5826117
Lauderdale5672174
Lowndes5186106
Lafayette482792
Lamar471162
Washington4700122
Bolivar3915105
Oktibbeha384279
Panola357274
Pontotoc356552
Monroe3463101
Union334755
Warren334692
Marshall333264
Neshoba3310149
Pearl River313891
Leflore2969104
Lincoln290185
Sunflower275868
Tate264759
Alcorn257850
Itawamba257058
Pike254876
Hancock246957
Prentiss240047
Scott238743
Copiah235649
Yazoo235054
Tippah233845
Simpson230166
Leake226764
Coahoma219054
Grenada213970
Covington207171
Marion203371
Adams200065
Winston196260
George195937
Wayne193029
Attala190958
Newton185142
Chickasaw179943
Tishomingo179059
Holmes167467
Jasper163533
Clay155632
Stone138818
Tallahatchie137033
Clarke135160
Calhoun132021
Smith117322
Yalobusha112534
Walthall110536
Noxubee108922
Greene108229
Montgomery107134
Carroll102320
Lawrence99817
Perry98631
Amite95725
Webster90024
Claiborne84125
Tunica84021
Jefferson Davis82925
Humphreys80324
Benton79722
Kemper75620
Quitman6678
Franklin64613
Choctaw59412
Wilkinson57424
Jefferson52019
Sharkey42317
Issaquena1576
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 414583

Reported Deaths: 5945
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson60842887
Mobile29590538
Madison26466183
Tuscaloosa20537267
Montgomery18562304
Shelby18181112
Baldwin15841177
Lee1212097
Morgan12002112
Etowah11488142
Calhoun10863197
Marshall10048106
Houston8405123
Cullman792294
Limestone785073
Elmore7670101
DeKalb757282
St. Clair7417120
Lauderdale740282
Talladega6036108
Walker5834176
Jackson571937
Colbert522270
Blount521980
Autauga507555
Coffee431456
Dale388278
Franklin362145
Chilton332965
Covington325567
Russell318910
Escambia309842
Dallas297988
Chambers275769
Clarke272933
Tallapoosa2591107
Pike245829
Lawrence239345
Marion238649
Winston222535
Bibb211347
Geneva196331
Marengo196329
Pickens195331
Hale172542
Barbour169636
Butler166958
Fayette164026
Cherokee158330
Henry149219
Monroe143617
Randolph137635
Washington135426
Clay124446
Crenshaw117444
Lamar116819
Cleburne115123
Macon111935
Lowndes107935
Wilcox99921
Bullock97128
Perry95019
Conecuh92820
Sumter89126
Greene75123
Coosa59814
Choctaw50824
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Partly Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 50°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 50°
Oxford
Mostly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 37°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 50°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather