Final witness called in Smart kidnapping trial

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Defense attorneys on Thursday called the final witness in the federal trial for the former street preacher charged with kidnapping Elizabeth Smart. Dr. Stephen Golding told jurors he disagrees with a defense experts who say Brian David Mitchell does not suffer from a serious mental illness. Mitchell, 57, is on trial in Salt Lake City’s U.S. District Court on charges of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines for the purpose of illegal sex. If he is convicted, Mitchell could spend the rest of his life in prison. The trial is in its fifth week. Smart was taken from her home at knifepoint on June 5, 2002. She was recovered March 12, 2003, walking a suburban street with Mitchell. Now 23, she has testified that she was forced into a polygamous marriage with Mitchell after the abduction, held prisoner on a tether and forced to endure nearly daily rapes. She also said Mitchell forced her to wear hand-sewn, religious-looking robes, to use drugs and alcohol, view pornography and to go to California against her will. Defense attorneys don’t dispute that a 14-year-old Smart was kidnapped and held captive in 2002, but they say Mitchell is mentally ill and can’t be held responsible for the crimes. Prosecutors contend Mitchell is faking mental illness to avoid prosecution. Golding was court-ordered to evaluate Mitchell in 2003 for a parallel state case. He then said Mitchell was not competent for trial and suffered from a narcissistic delusion. Golding, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Utah, disputes the efficacy of the methods used by Dr. Michael Welner, the New York City-based psychiatrist hired by prosecutors to evaluate Mitchell in 2009. Welner concluded Mitchell suffers from an anti-social personality disorder, pedophelia, psychopathy and alcohol abuse, but was not delusional. He said Mitchell was malingering – faking or exaggerating a mental illness.

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