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Elizabeth Smart Update: Wanda Barzee Admits She Tried to Abduct Smart's Cousin

(AP)
(AP Photo/Rick Egan)
(AP Photo/Colin Braley)
SALT LAKE CITY (CBS/AP) In a deal with Utah prosecutors, Wanda Barzee has pleaded guilty to the attempted kidnapping of a cousin of Elizabeth Smart.

Photo: Elizabeth Smart in 2000, before she was kidnapped in 2002.

In exchange for her plea, Barzee will avoid state charges in the kidnapping of Smart herself, who was found alive in 2003, 9 months after her abduction.

Barzee, who already pled guilty to federal charges in Smart's kidnapping, Monday pled to one felony count of conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping for trying to abduct 15-year-old Olivia Wright, on July 24, 2002, 50 days after Smart was taken from her Salt Lake City home at age 14.

Photo; Wanda Barzee in court in 2009.

In the federal case, Barzee, who's 64, faces sentencing May 19. As part of both plea deals, she has agreed to cooperate with the government in pending cases against her estranged husband, Brian David Mitchell. Barzee could face up to 30 years in state and federal prison.

Smart's father, Ed Smart, said the family is comfortable with the latest plea agreement because Barzee has accepted responsibility for the kidnapping in federal court and is expected to testify against Mitchell.

Photo: Brian David Mitchell leaving Federal Court in 2009.

The plea helps resolve a nearly 7-year-old case that slowed when Barzee was twice deemed incompetent to stand trial. Judge Judith Atherton ordered Barzee to undergo forced treatments with anti-psychotic medications. That process began in May 2008.

Doctors at the Utah State Hospital said last fall that Barzee had responded to the treatment and was competent.

Atherton accepted that determination Monday but said Barzee remains mentally ill. Barzee's treatment, primarily for depression, is ongoing, said her attorney, Scott Williams.
  • Carlin Miller

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