On June 5, 2002, Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her Salt Lake City, Utah home. One perpetrator, Brian David Mitchell, was sentenced to life in federal prison. The other, Wanda Barzee, will soon be released.
Wanda was scheduled to be released from prison in another five years. However, the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole decided to have mercy on the woman who helped to hold Elizabeth Smart hostage for over nine months.
Barzee will be released back into society next week.
On Tuesday, the Utah parole board ruled that Wanda Barzee was eligible to receive credit for the time she had already served in the federal prison system.
The Board gave Barzee her time served credits. She’s now scheduled to be released from prison on September 18, at the age of 72.
The Kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart
Wanda Barzee was convicted of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart, along with her husband Brian David Mitchell. They kidnapped the 14-year-old teen from her bedroom at knifepoint back in June 2002.
A little over nine months later, Smart was found walking the streets of Salt Lake City with both her kidnappers on March 12, 2003. According to court documents, Mitchell was aware of the layout of the Smart home because he’d once done handyman work there.
Elizabeth Smart’s Kidnappers: The Sentencing of Wanda Barzee
In November 2009, Wanda agreed to a plea deal. She’s testify against Brian David Mitchell, her husband, in both state and federal trials.
The following year, Barzee received a 15 year sentence in federal prison from the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart. In 2016, she completed her federal sentence. However, she wasn’t released. Instead, the convicted kidnapper was shipped off to serve time in the Utah state prison system.
It seems that Wanda had pleaded guilty in a Utah state court on other charges. She and her husband had also attempted to kidnap the cousin of Elizabeth Smart. The couple made this attempt about a month after kidnapping the teen.
Barzee is currently finishing up her 15-year prison sentence for this crime in Utah state prison for women.
The Utah parole board ruled on Tuesday that Wanda Barzee has completed both her state and federal prison sentences. Her state prison sentence officially ends on September 19, 2018.
Wanda Barzee’s attorney, Scott Williams, said:
I’m trying to understand how the state of Utah thinks they can hold her more than 15 years on a 15-year sentence maximum.
I didn’t ever expect Wanda Barzee to come back to the Utah State Prison, and in my opinion, neither did any of the representatives of the state of Utah or the United States government that I negotiated with.
How Does Elizabeth Smart Feel About Wanda Barzee’s Release?
After Barzee’s June parole hearing, Elizabeth Smart took to Instagram to tell the world how she felt about Barzee being released:
I do not think I’m a vindictive or vengeful person, if change were truly possible in her case then perhaps parole/release could be justified. But I have recently learned that she is still carrying around a manuscript called ‘The Book of Immanuel David Isaiah‘ and is reading from it. In this manuscript were the ‘revelations’ Mitchell ‘received’ from God to kidnap myself and six other young girls to all become his wives. It also ‘revealed’ his other highly disturbing and dangerous ideas.
According to Smart, Barzee has not done any of the required work for release. She hasn’t done risk assessments or mental health evaluations. The now 30-year-old kidnapping survivor also says Barzee didn’t even show up for her own parole hearing.
She calls Wanda’s release both surprising and disappointing:
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 intends to speak publicly about Wanda Barzee’s release soon. But, she wants to get a better understanding of the case and the parole process. She’s working effortlessly to continue her work as a child safety activist .
Brian David Mitchell continues serving a federal life sentence in an undisclosed facility. The Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator doesn’t even have him listed. This is probably because he’s a high-profile famous prisoner.
Wanda Barzee is currently finishing up her prison time at Timpanogos Women’s Facility in Draper, Utah. She will be free, with NO parole, on September 18.