SALT LAKE CITY (CBS/AP) Brian David Mitchell, on trial for the 2002 kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, suffered an apparent seizure in the courtroom, Tuesday, and the trial has been suspended for the day.
Paramedics rushed into the courtroom to tend to the 47-year-old former street preacher who was moaning and lying on the floor.
The incident happened Tuesday just as the jury was about to get called into the courtroom for another day of testimony.
As he has every day of the trial so far, Mitchell entered courtroom singing. The judge had just begun to explain that he had decided to allow jurors to hear about Mitchell's 2005 mental competency proceedings, after meeting with prosecutors and defense lawyers, when Mitchell apparently fell to the floor, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
Mitchell reportedly stopped singing and dropped his head for a few moments. Defense attorney Wendy Lewis locked eyes with him and then he flailed back, making a loud bleating sound. He then fell to the left and his head came back. At 8:40 a.m., Lewis said, "He's having a seizure your honor," and the U.S. Marshals came in and laid him on the floor, the paper reported.
"You might want to take him out and see if he needs medical [assistance]," Kimball said, according to the Tribune.
Mitchell remained shackled as paramedics lifted him onto a stretcher. Wearing an oxygen mask, he appeared pale and frightened. His eyes, which are usually closed in court, were wide and round, and both of his fists were clenched.
Mitchell's former stepdaughter, Rebecca Woodridge, says the defendant has been housed in a jail medical unit recently because of seizure issues.
Woodridge said the first seizure she was made aware of was just after Christmas in 2009. She said Mitchell refuses all medical treatment because he doesn't like western medicine.
Smart testified earlier in the trial that Mitchell suffered a seizure during the nine months she was his captive.
"He was in the middle of raping me and he experienced a seizure," Smart said in response to a question from the defense about whether she had seen Mitchell lose consciousness.
Smart was abducted at knifepoint on June 5, 2002, at the age of 14.
Now 23, Smart has testified that she was forced to enter a polygamous marriage with Mitchell, endured near daily rapes, was forced to use drugs and alcohol, and was taken to California against her will for about four months. She was eventually recovered nine months after her abduction, disguised in wig and sunglasses and walking a suburban Salt Lake City street with Mitchell.
His attorneys don't dispute that Smart was abducted from her home at knifepoint and held captive, but contend that Mitchell is mentally ill and can't be held responsible for the crimes.