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Elizabeth Smart testifies in kidnapping trial

by Jorge Hernandez on November 9, 2010

More than eight years after she was kidnapped from her Salt Lake City, Utah home, Elizabeth Smart testified against one of her captors in court yesterday, describing in detail the horrific night that caused police to embark on a extensive search for more than nine months. It was the first day of testimony in the trial of Brian D. Mitchell, who is accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting the then 14-year-old Smart, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

Smart, who is now 23, gave jurors an unflinching account of the night of June 5, 2002. She testified that she awoke to Mitchell holding a knife to her throat and that he threatened to kill her and her family if she did not come with him. He then led her to a campsite with his wife, Wanda Eileen Barzee, near her home, where she was held for 9 months until she was found on March 12, 2003.

"I was immediately wide awake," Elizabeth told jurors. "I knew how deadly the situation was. I was extremely scared. I got up and did what [the voice] said."

Smart told jurors that she made a decision not to try to escape for fear of getting herself and her family killed, but was plied with alcohol and cigarettes from her captor. According to the news source, by the end of the day Smart had only detailed about five weeks of her ordeal and she is expected to take the stand again today.

The trial is a culmination of a lengthy legal battle. Mitchell was deemed fit to stand trial in March 2010 after a psychiatric nurse claimed he had faked psychiatric symptoms. Mitchell's wife, Barzee, is currently serving a 15-year sentence for her role in the in the kidnapping.

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