Video: Smart’s testimony recounts ‘months of hell’

  1. Closed captioning of: Smart’s testimony recounts ‘months of hell’

    >>> chilling new testimony from elizabeth smart at the trial of her alleged kidnapper. janet shanlian is at the courthouse in salt lake city , utah for us.

    >> reporter: good morning to you. how difficult it must have been for this young woman to talk about these things with her mom and her dad sitting right there. elizabeth smart , sharing painful details of almost daily sexual assaults for the better part of a year. with her calm demeanor here yesterday, she told everyone that while she may have been victimized, she wouldn't remain a victim. a determined looking elizabeth smart walked into the courthouse for a second day of testimony against brian david mitchell , the man she says kidnapped her from her bed. she recalled nine months of captivity, horrific details of being repeatedly raped, hidden in the foothills of salt lake city not far from her home and later in san francisco . i started to quietly slip away and started down the trail, and i didn't make it very far. she said she was told if i ever tried that again i would be killed. with her parents looking on, she described being a 14-year-old girl held captive, force to drink alcohol, look at pornography and then submit to her attackers sexual demands. as days turned to months and hope became disspare. mitchell took her to a library where they were approached by a detective who said they were looking for elizabeth smart . mitchell would not let him peek under her veil. i was mad at myself for just not taking the chance, that i just felt like it was so close and it was so terrible. he came back that evening and brought me a candy bar . what else did he do that evening, the prosecutor asked? he raped me. walking in a long robe and veil alongside mitchell and his wife wanda barz si who's already serving time. she knew she was finally free. i was very scared, at the same time i thought, this is it, i'm done. this is over. the defense is claiming that this is a case of mental illness, of a man who could not make a rational decision , and yet elizabeth smart spent five hours on the stand here yesterday talking about how every decision the defendant made was planned in advance. and smart will take the stand once again today. meredith.

    >> quite a remarkable young woman . thank you very much.

msnbc.com news services
updated 11/9/2010 8:20:15 PM ET 2010-11-10T01:20:15

Elizabeth Smart testified Tuesday that her abductor often used vulgar language before raping her, brought pornography to the Utah camp where they were holed up and threatened to kill her and her family if she tried to escape.

Smart, in testimony transcribed by the Salt Lake Tribune, said Brian David Mitchell referred to male and female genitalia in vulgar language while he held her at a camp in Utah.

Mitchell is accused of kidnapping Smart from her bedroom in 2002 and holding her captive for nine months in an abduction that captivated Americans.

Smart, now 23, was 14 when she was taken at knifepoint in June 2002 while sleeping. Nine months later, motorists spotted her walking in a Salt Lake City suburb with Mitchell.

Mitchell, 57, faces life in prison if he is convicted of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Assistant U.S. attorney Felice Viti asked Smart to describe Mitchell's use of vulgar language.

    1. Hoffman withdrew $1,200 hours before death: sources

      Philip Seymour Hoffman withdrew a total of $1,200 from an ATM at a supermarket near his New York City apartment the night before he was found lifeless in his bathroom with a syringe still in his left arm, sources told NBC News.

    2. NYC mayor will skip St. Pat's parade over gay ban
    3. Indiana man back home 18 years after abduction
    4. 32 states in the path of another wild storm
    5. Judge vows quick ruling on Va. marriage ban

"There came a time when he said that we had to sink below all things so one day we could rise above all things and he brought pornography in the camp and he would talk about the women using vulgar terms," she answered.

"What would happen when he returned to the camp and said that?" Viti asked.

"He would rape me," Smart said.

Also Tuesday, she testified that on the day police finally found her, she lied to them about her identity out of fear her abductor would kill her.

She told jurors Tuesday that she told police she was Augustine Marshall, the daughter of traveling preachers. She said that was the story Mitchell directed her to tell if ever anyone approached her.

But Smart says she was also thinking her ordeal was finally coming to an end.

Police stopped a disguised Smart, along with Mitchell and his wife, while they were walking on a suburban Salt Lake City street. Drivers had reported seeing the girl.

Earlier Tuesday Smart, whose kidnapping captivated Americans, told jurors how a Salt Lake City police detective tried to see behind her veil but backed down when the man accused of kidnapping her said her face was hidden for religious reasons.

"I was mad at myself, that I didn't say anything," she said. "I felt terrible that the detective hadn't pushed harder and had just walked away."

  1. Only on NBCNews.com
    1. OWN via Getty Images
      From belief to betrayal: How America fell for Armstrong
    2. pool via Reuters file
      US to Syria neighbors: Be ready to act on WMDs
    3. China: One-child policy is here to stay
    4. NRA: Practice Range
      New 'Practice Range' shooter game says it’s from NRA
    5. 'Gifted' priest indicted in crystal meth case
    6. AFP - Getty Images
      China's state media admits to air pollution crisis
    7. AFP - Getty Images
      French to send 1,000 more troops to Mali

The close call happened months after her abduction.

The detective had approached a robed Smart sitting at a library table and asked if he could look under the veil she wore across her face.

"He said he was looking for Elizabeth Smart," Smart said.

Under the table, Mitchell's wife at the time, Wanda Eileen Barzee, squeezed Smart's leg — a sign, Smart said, that she should remain quiet.

Mitchell stood between Smart and the detective.

"He said that it was not allowed in our religion and that only my husband would ever see my face," she said.

The detective pressed.

"He asked if he could be a part of our religion for a day, just so he could see my face, just so he could go back (to the police station) and say, 'no it wasn't Elizabeth Smart'," she said.

Mitchell again stated firmly that it would not be allowed. The detective gave up and left, Smart said.

The encounter came in early fall, weeks after Mitchell and Barzee first brought Smart with them into the city — essentially hiding her in plain sight but keeping her under his control with threats on her life.

"He told me that I needed to stay next to him at all times and that if I tried to run away, I would be killed," Smart said, describing her first venture into the city.

Afterward, Mitchell sped up plans to move the trio away from Utah, so Smart would not be discovered, she told jurors.

Smart said Mitchell took her to a noisy, "rave-type" party he was invited to by a grocery store employee he had befriended.

  1. Most popular

"There was a lot of drinking and drugs," she said, adding that she could smell cigarettes and marijuana burning.

Mitchell became very territorial when the grocery clerk, Daniel Trotta, tried to talk to her, Smart said. "He said this is my daughter and she can't talk to you," she said.

Smart also described Mitchell's July 24 unsuccessful attempt to kidnap one of Smart's cousins, Olivia Wright, from another part of Salt Lake City.

"He decided it was time to go and kidnap another girl to be another wife," Smart said.

Smart said she watched Mitchell pack a bag with the same dark clothing, stocking cap and knife that he has used the night he had taken her from her home.

The kidnapping attempt was thwarted when Mitchell tried to get through a window of Wright's home but pushed over some knickknacks from the windowsill and awakened the sleeping household.

The following day, Mitchell forced Smart to metaphorically sever any remaining ties with her family by burning the red pajamas she had been wearing on the night she was taken.

Smart said she dropped the pajamas into a campfire and watched them burn. Afterward, she found in the ashes a safety pin that she had used to keep the neck of the pajamas closed. She fastened it to a small piece of rubber from her tennis shoes — which Mitchell had thrown out — and hid it.

"I didn't want to let go of my family, of my life," she said.

In other testimony Tuesday, also transcribed by The Deseret News, Smart described a cable system she said Mitchell used to tether her. A bolt cutter she said Mitchell eventually used to cut a cable from around her ankle was kept out of reach, in a bucket in an underground house Mitchell was digging at their mountain camp.

Smart said Mitchell told her "even though you have this cable removed off your ankle now that doesn’t change the fact that you will be killed if you try to escape. Your family will be killed."

  1. Only on NBCNews.com
    1. OWN via Getty Images
      From belief to betrayal: How America fell for Armstrong
    2. pool via Reuters file
      US to Syria neighbors: Be ready to act on WMDs
    3. China: One-child policy is here to stay
    4. NRA: Practice Range
      New 'Practice Range' shooter game says it’s from NRA
    5. 'Gifted' priest indicted in crystal meth case
    6. AFP - Getty Images
      China's state media admits to air pollution crisis
    7. AFP - Getty Images
      French to send 1,000 more troops to Mali

Before Mitchell's trial, Smart for more than a year had been in the midst of her LDS Church mission, a rite of passage hallowed by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Serving in Paris, France, she was among the 52,000 Mormon missionaries — most of them young adults; the others retired couples — who knock on doors and speak 107 different languages in 180 countries, according to Lyman Kirkland, a church spokesman.

She is a student at Brigham Young University, where she says she plans to complete her studies as a music performance major with emphasis on harp after her mission.

The article contains reporting from msnbc.com staff and The Associated Press.

Timeline: Elizabeth Smart abduction

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments