Elizabeth Smart's kidnapper denied request to be tried outside of Utah

by | Aug. 17, 2010

News from Utah

Brian David Mitchell, accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart, will be tried in Salt Lake City.

At least, that's the plan for now.

U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball on Monday issued a 22-page decision regarding whether the trial for the former street preacher, scheduled to start Nov. 1, should be moved out of Utah because media coverage surrounding the high-profile case has made it impossible to seat an impartial jury.

Kimball denied Mitchell's motion, but he also said he would reconsider the issue and make a final decision after juror questionnaires were returned and both sides had time to review them. That could happen sometime between the end of September and beginning of October.

Mitchell is accused of kidnapping then-14-year-old Smart in 2002 and taking her across state lines for unlawful purposes. Her disappearance and return in 2003, along with the arrests of Mitchell and his co-defendant and estranged wife, Wanda Barzee, became one of Utah's highest-profile abductions ever.

At issue for Kimball to decide was whether "so great a prejudice against the defendant exists … that the defendant cannot obtain a fair and impartial trial" in Utah, according to court records.

Read the rest of this story at deseretnews.com
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