The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole announced on Tuesday, Sept. 11, that Wanda Barzee, who helped her husband, Brian Mitchell, kidnap Elizabeth Smart from her bedroom in Salt Lake City would be released early from Utah prison after receiving “time served” for her 15-year stint in a Texas federal prison. Barzee and Mitchell made Smart’s life a living hell while holding her captive.
Smart responded after the news was announced.
“It is incomprehensible how someone who has not cooperated with her mental health evaluations or risk assessments and some who did not show up to her own parole hearing can be released into our community,” Smart said in a statement. “I am trying to understand how and why this is happened and exploring possible options.”
More information on the story can be seen below.
In June 2009, Smart was kidnapped at knifepoint from her bedroom in Salt Lake City. Smart was just 14 years old when she had been abducted by Wanda Barzee and her husband, Brian Mitchell. In May 2010, Barzee was sentenced to one to 15 years in state prison for aggravated kidnapping as a second-degree felony. Mitchell, meanwhile, is serving two life sentences for kidnapping and sexual assault.
Smart said she was raped nearly every day during nine months in captivity and forced to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and watch Mitchell have sex with his legal wife, Wanda Barzee. She was forced to wear robes and a veil in public and was not permitted to speak to other people. She said she feared Mitchell would act on his threats to kill her and her family if she did. She said Mitchell told her their marriage was preordained and that she would be by his side as he took seven times seven wives and successfully battled the Antichrist. They would hold exalted positions in God’s new kingdom, she was told.
The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole announced Tuesday, Sept. 11 that Barzee, now 72 years old, would be released on Sept. 19.
“Upon further review and advice from legal counsel, the board must count time spent in federal custody toward Ms. Barzee’s state sentence,” Greg Johnson of the Utah board said in a letter, via FOX News.
Smart has since written a book about her kidnapping and life which has also been turned into a Lifetime movie.
Who is Wanda Barzee?
Wanda Barzee was sentenced to a 15-year sentence for her role in the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, who was just 12 years old when she was abducted by her home at gunpoint. On Tuesday, Sept. 11, the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole announced that Barzee would be released the following week.
Barzee completed a 15-year stint in federal charges and was then sent to the Utah prison system to serve a state sentence after pleading guilty for her role in an attempted kidnapping in connection in a plot to kidnap Smart’s cousin.
Barzee was set to serve six more years in Utah prison at the time of her release.