SALT LAKE CITY – The man accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart in 2002 was influenced by an escalating mental illness and extreme religious beliefs that made him think he was doing what God wanted him to do, his lawyer told jurors Monday at the start of his federal trial.
Brian David Mitchell's trial on kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor charges resumed Monday after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver rejected a request to move the case out of Utah.
Smart, now 23, was 14 when she was kidnapped from her home at knifepoint in June 2002. She was found nine months later with Mitchell, 57.
In opening statements Monday, his lawyer, public defender Parker Douglas, didn't dispute the facts but took issue with the prosecution's allegation that Mitchell is a calculating person who planned the kidnapping.
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