The woman who helped her husband kidnap Elizabeth Smart is set to be released from prison. Wanda Barzee and Brian David Mitchell kidnapped Smart from her home in Salt Lake City in 2002 when she was just 14 years old.
Barzee was denied parole in July, but her lawyer argued that the time she served in federal jail should count toward her state prison sentence.
"The Board of Pardons and Parole had previously operated under the understanding, that the six years Ms. Barzee spent in federal prison did not count toward her state sentence. However, a recent legal review of the state sentence, statutes, and case law has made clear that the federal time does count toward her state sentence," the Board explained.
Elizabeth Smart issued a statement calling Barzee's release "incomprehensible."
"I was surprised and disappointed to learn of the pending release of Wanda Bazee. 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. 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."
When Barzee is released next Wednesday (September 19), she is not welcome to stay with her sister or any other member of her immediate family. Barzee's sister, who requested not to be named, told KUTV that Wanda is "mentally ill.
"Terribly mentally ill, and she’s very manipulative."
While she expressed concern that her sister could harm somebody or be harmed herself, she said that Wanda will not be allowed to stay with her once she is free.
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