Elizabeth Smart Update: 9 Possible Jurors Retained in First Day of Kidnap Trial

Elizabeth Smart Update: 9 Possible Jurors Retained in First Day of Kidnap Trial
Elizabeth Smart (AP Photo, file)

SALT LAKE CITY (CBS/AP) Nearly every potential juror questioned on the first day of the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping trial said they knew about the case and believed defendant Brian David Mitchell was likely responsible.

PICTURES: Elizabeth Smart

Jury selection began Monday in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.

Mitchell is charged in federal court with kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor. If convicted, the 57-year-old could spend the rest of his life in jail.

The trial begins more than eight years after Smart was taken from her home at age 14. It is expected to last at least five weeks.

The court is trying to winnow a pool of 220 potential jurors to 30 before impaneling a jury of 12, plus alternates.

Of the 17 potential jurors questioned Monday, all said they had seen media coverage of the case and could recite its various details - from Smart's 2002 knifepoint abduction, to alleged sexual abuses she suffered during nine months of captivity, to her recovery after being found with Mitchell in 2003.

Asked by defense attorneys what they believed was "true" about the case, jurors described Smart as being "taken" or "stolen" from her parents. One woman said she thought Mitchell "believed he was doing God's will" when he took Smart and made her his polygamous wife.

Defense attorneys argued the answers were proof jurors had predetermined Mitchell's guilt and asked that each of the 17 be dismissed.

By day's end, Judge Dale Kimball had retained nine potential jurors - five men and four women - and dismissed eight. The selection process will resume Tuesday.

COVERAGE OF ELIZABETH SMART ON CRIMESIDER