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The following is excerpted from the Deseret News. To read the full article, click here.
Wanda Barzee, the wife of Brian David Mitchell who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart and hold her hostage for nine months, will be released from prison next week after serving her entire sentence.
The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole announced Tuesday that it reversed its original decision and determined it had mistakenly not given Barzee credit for her time served in federal prison.
“Upon further review and advice from legal counsel, the board must count time spent in federal custody toward Ms. Barzee’s state sentence. Therefore, Ms. Barzee’s state sentence ends on Sept. 19, 2018,” the pardons board said in a prepared statement.
Smart said she is “surprised and disappointed” with the decision.
“It is incomprehensible how someone who has not cooperated with her mental health evaluations or risk assessments and someone 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 happening and exploring possible options. I plan to speak publicly in the coming days once I have a better understanding. I appreciate the support, love and concern that has already been expressed and will work diligently to address the issue of Barzee’s release as well as to ensure changes are made moving forward to ensure this doesn’t happen to anyone else in the future.”
Barzee, 72, along with Mitchell, kidnapped Smart in 2002 when she was 14 years old and held her captive until their arrests nine months later. After years of court battles over her competency, Barzee pleaded guilty in federal court in 2009 to kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor.
To read the full article, click here.