Originally created 03/18/03

Attorney: Accused man considers Elizabeth Smart his wife



SALT LAKE CITY -- The self-proclaimed prophet accused of abducting Elizabeth Smart told his attorney he considers the 15-year-old girl his wife and wants her to be renamed "Remnant Who Will Return."

"He wanted me to tell the world that she is his wife, and he still loves her and knows that she still loves him, that no harm came to her during their relationship and the adventure that went on," attorney Larry Long said in an interview aired late Sunday on KUTV.

Long, who said he had agreed earlier Sunday to become Brian David Mitchell's attorney, was speaking for his client for the first time.

Long said Mitchell - whom he referred to as "the perpetrator" - would consider the girl's nine-month disappearance a "call from God," not a kidnapping.

Smart, who was snatched from her bedroom June 5, was found Wednesday with Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, in Sandy, Utah, when they were stopped by police.

Mitchell and Barzee remained in jail as prosecutors weighed their case against the pair. They had been expected to face charges Monday of aggravated kidnapping, but District Attorney David Yocom said no state charges would be filed yet. Conviction on that charge in Utah is punishable by a prison term of six years to life.

There was no indication that any federal charges were imminent.

Long suggested that giving his client a light sentence could encourage kidnappers to keep their captives alive.

"If we can somehow set up some structure where the message gets out that if you bring the girl back alive, that there's some kind of commutation of the sentence, we may be much better off as a society," Long said.

He also said Mitchell, 49, wanted to be known as Immanuel David Isaiah, and wanted Barzee, 57, to be called Hephzibah Eladah Isaiah. Mitchell's name for Elizabeth, Long said, is Shear Jashub Isaiah, or "Remnant Who Will Return."

He said his client, who did handyman work at the Smart house one day in November 2001, was on a fruit-only diet in jail.

"I found him to be very intelligent, very knowledgeable, very coherent and very articulate in his expression of his views," Long said.

Calls to Long's office from The Associated Press were not returned Sunday, and calls to his home went unanswered.

Mitchell, an excommunicated Mormon, wrote a rambling manifesto last year espousing the virtues of polygamy. The Mormon church has long distanced itself from polygamy and excommunicates those who practice it.

No details have been released about any abuse Elizabeth may have suffered while captive. The girl has been interviewed several times by police, but her parents have not asked her for details, according to family spokesman Chris Thomas.

He did deny speculation the girl could be pregnant: "Unequivocally, she is not pregnant and was never pregnant."

"She has been thoroughly examined and tested," Thomas said Saturday.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported Monday that Elizabeth boarded a police helicopter during the weekend to point investigators to the camp where she, Mitchell and Barzee lived for two months in the foothills near her family's home.

Salt Lake City detective Dwayne Baird said police interviewers are taking care not to traumatize her with their questions.

At a Mormon church service Sunday, Elizabeth Smart's grandfather said her captors so sapped her of free will that she didn't try to escape even when left alone for a day.

"As a doctor, it's amazing to me that you can become so brainwashed that you identify with your captor," Charles Smart said.

Bishop David Hamblin said despite anything that may have happened during the ordeal, the teen is "pure before the Lord. People who are in the control of others are not accountable."