Elizabeth Smart calls decision to free captor 'incomprehensible'


In a surprise reversal from the Utah Board of Pardons, the woman who pleaded guilty to helping kidnap Elizabeth Smart will be released from prison September 19.

"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", Ms Smart said.

The news release goes on to say that at the June hearing that "Ms. Barzee's attorney contended that Ms. Barzee's federal sentence should run concurrently with her state sentence and therefore the Board had miscalculated the end of Ms. Barzee's state sentence...."

However, in a shock move, the state's parole board announced that authorities had actually miscalculated the time she previously served in prison, leading to her release years before her prison sentence was supposed to end in January 2024.

They began hearing about the possibility of an early release just last week, he said.

At that June hearing, the board said that Barzee had refused to take a psychological exam.

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Wanda Barzee was sentenced to up to 15 years in state prison for her role Smart's 2002 kidnapping.

A woman convicted of helping a former street preacher kidnap Elizabeth Smart in 2002 will be freed from prison more than five years earlier than expected, a surprise decision that Smart called "incomprehensible" on Tuesday.

Smart was found while walking with Barzee and Mitchell on a street in the suburb of Sandy, Utah, by people who recognized the couple from media reports. She pleaded guilty to that charge and was sentenced to one to 15 years.

Smart, who is now 30 and a child-safety activist, said in a statement that she was "surprised and disappointed" to learn that one of her tormentors would be free next week. She was transferred to the Utah state prison in April 2016 after finishing a federal sentence in Texas. "Therefore, Ms. Barzee's state sentence ends on September 19, 2018", according to a statement from the Board of Pardons and Parole.

Smart said she will work "to ensure changes are made moving forward to ensure this doesn't happen to anyone else in the future".

March 12, 2003: Brian Mitchell and Wanda Barzee were arrested for the alleged kidnapping of a minor. According to Smart, Mitchell forced her through woods while she wore only her pajamas, then raped her after the mock marriage ceremony. At that time, the board did not credit Barzee's sentence in the Utah system with time served in the federal system. Mitchell, a religious extremist who meant to take her as a child bride, was believed to have cut through a screen window to gain access to her bedroom, abducting Smart as she slept.