Mitchell found competent to stand trial in Elizabeth Smart kidnapping

Brian David Mitchell, the man accused of abducting and raping Elizabeth Smart, has been ruled competent to stand trial in federal court.

U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball, in a 149 page decision, ruled Monday that Mitchell "does not presently suffer from a mental disease or defect that impedes his rational and factual understanding of the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him or his ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding."

Mitchell's next court appearance will be March 26, when Kimball and attorneys from both sides are expected to set a trial date.

"I'm thrilled this decision has come down and Elizabeth has the opportunity for this case to go forward," said former U.S. Attorney for Utah Brett Tolman.

On Oct. 1, Mitchell's competency hearing began with remarkable testimony from Smart herself. The competency hearing continued on Nov. 30 and lasted for two weeks. During that time, Tolman and his team of prosecutors called many lay witnesses to the stand, including former friends, family members and co-workers of Mitchell in addition to staff members at the Utah State Hospital and expert witnesses.

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