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Elizabeth Smart Trial Update: Brian David Mitchell "Great Deceiver," Says Estranged Wife

Elizabeth Smart Trial Update:  Brian David Mitchell "A Great Deceiver," Says Wanda Barzee
Elizabeth Smart November, 8 2010 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images) Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

SALT LAKE CITY (CBS/AP) In her second day of testimony Wanda Barzee, the estranged wife of Brian David Mitchell, the man charged with kidnapping Elizabeth Smart in 2002, said Friday that Mitchell was "a great deceiver" who manipulated Barzee's religious beliefs to get her to go along with the kidnapping.

PICTURES: Elizabeth Smart

For more than six hours Barzee testified about the details of her tumultuous 25-year marriage, saying she was totally dependent on Mitchell. She said she believed him each time he cited personal religious revelations or blessings to direct their actions.

Barzee told jurors that Mitchell had a "revelation" in 2000 that he was to begin practicing plural marriage, and that she didn't want to share him, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

"Brian said he had a dream that celestial marriage was going to be restored," Barzee testified. "I started thinking about it and I got really devastated. I collapsed and cried in his arms."

"You were upset because you had to share him?" defense attorney Robert Steele asked.

"Yes," Barzee said.

Elizabeth Smart Trial Update:  Brian David Mitchell "A Great Deceiver," Says Wanda Barzee
Wanda Barzee, estranged wife of Brian David Mitchell leaves court in Salt Lake City, Utah, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010. (Jeffrey D. Allred,AP Photo/Deseret News) Jeffrey D. Allred,AP Photo/Deseret News

After a few false starts with adult women, Barzee testified that Mitchell told her in the fall of 2001 that they needed to find a young girl to take because no one wanted to join the religious society he wanted to form.

PICTURES: Elizabeth Smart

"We were given the commandment to take young girls between 10 to 14 years old," said Barzee, who cried as she recounted the story. "He would go downtown and stalk young girls and find out where they live."

It was during one of these trips, in the fall of 2001, that Mitchell met Lois Smart, who was downtown with her children, including Elizabeth.

Mitchell was invited to do odd jobs at their Federal Heights home.

Barzee said an April 2002 revelation directed them to prepare for Mitchell to "go forth" to receive their first wife on June 4, 2002.

Barzee testified that that week of preparation was tense and that she and Mitchell argued because she "just knew how drastically my life would change, having a 14-year-old girl."

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 frequent rapes, was forced to use drugs and alcohol, and was taken to California against her will about four months.

On the night of the kidnapping, Barzee said Mitchell became consumed with "fear and doubt" about the mission.

"I told him that if the Lord didn't open the way, then he didn't have to do it," she said.

But on cross examination, Barzee conceded that she also pressed Mitchell to go through with the abduction because God had commanded it.

"So the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart is all your fault?" Assistant U.S. Attorney Felice John Viti asked.

"I don't know," replied Barzee, who also said that before the kidnapping she had no idea who the young girl would be.

Mitchell hasn't been in the courtroom. He is regularly removed for singing hymns and disrupting the proceedings, and he watches the trial on video from a holding cell.

Mitchell is charged with kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines. If convicted, the 57-year-old former street preacher could spend the rest of his life in prison.


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