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Accused captor is an unholy hypocrite, Smart says

By Ann O'Neill, CNN
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Elizabeth Smart's 'nine months in hell'
  • NEW: Elizabeth Smart calls her captor "hypocritical" for claiming a calling from God
  • She testified Wednesday in trial of Brian David Mitchell, charged with kidnapping her
  • "He was crude and vulgar, self-serving," she says
  • Mitchell and his wife constantly squabbled over her jealousy and his drinking, she says

Editor's Note: For more trial coverage, see CNN affiliate KSTU. Read about Smart's spiritual journey on CNN's Belief Blog.

Salt Lake City, Utah (CNN) -- They were the words Elizabeth Smart waited eight years to say, and when she spoke them from the witness stand Wednesday, they poured out with an intensity that brought jurors to the edge of their seats.

Brian David Mitchell was no prophet, she said. He was an unholy hypocrite.

There was nothing divine about his mission to steal her in the dark of night and make her his unwilling child bride, she said.

"He was crude and vulgar, self-serving," she stated, looking directly at the jury. "He was his number one priority, followed by sex, drugs and alcohol, but he used religion in all those aspects to justify everything."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Felice John Viti asked how she could be so certain about Mitchell's character, and Smart held nothing back.

Elizabeth Smart testifies
Timeline: Elizabeth Smart case

"Well, nine months of living with him and seeing him proclaim that he was God's servant and he had been called to do God's work, and everything that he did to me and to my family is something I know God would never tell someone to do," she said. ''God would never tell someone to kidnap a young girl from her family's home in the middle of the night, from her bed that she shared with her sister, from her sister's side, and continue to rape her and sexually abuse her. ... I know he was not called of God because God would never do something like that."

Within minutes, Smart stepped down from the witness stand, ending three days of riveting testimony against the homeless street preacher accused of kidnapping her and holding her captive as his preordained "celestial" wife. Asked if she was glad it was over, Smart paused for a moment, as if carefully considering her response. She then smiled and said, "Yes."

Smart, who turned 23 last week, led the jury through the ordeal she calls "my nine months in hell." She was 14 when she was snatched from her bed at knifepoint and marched into the mountains behind her home to a makeshift camp, where Mitchell "sealed" her to him as his wife. Other kidnapped girls were to come, she said Mitchell told her, and her job would be to "demonstrate" to the newcomers how to carry out their sexual duties.

Smart said she initially was tethered to a cable strung between two trees. She was raped on a daily basis, forced to smoke and drink and parade around naked in a game Mitchell and wife, Wanda Barzee, called "Adam and Eve." She said he called himself Immanuel and wrote a book outlining his religious beliefs called the "Book of Immanuel David Isaiah." He called his private parts "Immanuel's Pride," and his bed "Immanuel's Altar," she testified.

She said she resisted his sexual advances, once biting him as he tried to kiss her.

"He said I would become accustomed and learn to love it," she said Wednesday. "He said he understood and recognized that I felt like a prostitute or a concubine or a second-class wife but that wasn't the case at all."

Although Mitchell claimed to receive revelations directly from God and said he was destined for celestial glory, many of the details of his life, as described by Smart, were earthly and banal. Mitchell and Barzee constantly squabbled over her jealousy and his drinking, Smart said. He had a taste for pornography and boasted about his sexual prowess and his ability to outsmart other people.

When he talked about his "ministry," he meant panhandling, Smart added. But Mitchell often was scathing in his criticism of the people who gave him money on the street.

She said he talked constantly -- about himself. She never saw him show compassion, or give anyone else money or food. Except for concealing her identity, she said, he didn't show much concern for her or her family.

"He said that I was the apple of their eye and that they were heartbroken I wasn't there but that they would be comforted and reassured that I was in good hands," she said.

Mitchell, 57, has not been in court during Smart's testimony. As he has during every court appearance since December 2004, Mitchell closed his eyes and began singing hymns as soon as he was brought into court on Wednesday. In what has become a daily ritual, U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball brought the jury in, and intoned: "Mr. Mitchell, you have a constitutional right to be here, which you now waive if you continue to sing."

In his thin, reedy voice, Mitchell went on singing about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ: "They pierced his hands and feet and side ..."

He was led from the courtroom, still singing with his hands folded as if in prayer beneath his chest-length beard. According to court records, he stops the moment he enters a room equipped with audio and video feeds that allow him to view the trial.

His lawyers don't dispute what happened to Smart but say Mitchell was insane, and therefore not criminally responsible for his actions. They speak of delusions that their client said provided revelations.

Defense attorney Robert Steele was gentle in his brief cross-examination of Smart, mainly clarifying small points about her direct testimony. Asked about a statement she gave to a forensic psychologist shortly after she was found in March 2003, Smart conceded that her memory was probably better back then. She crisply thanked the lawyer for refreshing her memory on another point.

Smart was followed by several other prosecution witnesses. The prosecution and defense agreed to what two of the witnesses had to offer, and their testimony was read into the court record as a stipulation. A waitress testified that she often served Mitchell and Barzee and saw them joined by another woman wearing a veil during the late summer or early fall of 2002. Another woman testified her husband briefly brought them home for a night or two; the women were silent but Mitchell smoked cigars and talked religion with her husband, Ada Chestnut said.

An employee of The Deseret News identified Mitchell as the man who tore down a missing persons poster of Smart in the newspaper's lobby. The witness said the man told her Smart had been found. When she disputed his statement, he said he'd read the news in a competing paper, she testified.

Detective Jon Richey testified about his encounter with three people, later determined to be Mitchell, Barzee and Smart, at the public library in Salt Lake City shortly after Smart's disappearance. He'd been called to investigate a tip that Smart was there, but said he considered it a "long shot."

The women were dressed in robes and veils and were not permitted to speak, He said he asked to look under the younger woman's veil, but the man was insistent that he couldn't. It would violate their religion, the man said,

He seemed adamant and not at all evasive or nervous, Richey told the jury. He did not appear to be mentally ill.

"My impression was that he belonged to a religion or a cult that I had never heard of," he said.

The trial recessed at the end of the day Wednesday for the Veteran's Day holiday and will resume Monday. It is expected to continue for another three weeks.

In Session's Jean Casarez and Lena Jakobsson contributed to this story.