Wanda Barzee to be released from prison in 8 days
(KUTV) — Wanda Barzee, a co-kidnapper of Elizabeth Smart, will be released from prison on Sept. 19, according to Greg Johnson with the State of Utah Board of Pardon and Parole.
Ed Smart, Elizabeth's dad, told 2News he is "shocked."
Elizabeth released the following statement regarding the news:
I was surprised and disappointed to learn of the pending release of Wanda Barzee. 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. I am trying to understand how and why this is happening and exploring possible options. I plan to speak publicly in the coming days once I have a better understanding. I appreciate the support, love and concern that has already been expressed and will work diligently to address the issue of Barzee’s release as well as to ensure changes are made moving forward to ensure this doesn’t happen to anyone else in the future.
On June 5, 2002, Brian David Mitchell kidnapped Elizabeth.
She was later found alive on March 12, 2003 while walking down the street with Mitchell. She and Barzee were seen wearing white veils covering their face. Barzee and Mitchell were arrested for the alleged kidnapping of a minor.
The timeline of events following her arrest went as follows:
- March 5, 2008: A federal indictment was filed for kidnapping and unlawfully transporting a minor.
- November 17, 2009: Barzee pled guilty in federal court.
- February 8, 2010: The Utah state court found Barzee competent and she pled guilty to second degree aggravated kidnapping.
- May 21, 2010: Barzee was sentenced to 15 years in prison, which included time served since 2003. Barzee was also sentenced in federal court. She then began serving her federal sentence.
- April 8, 2016: Barzee was returned to Utah is finish the rest of her Utah prison sentence. She had completed her federal sentence.
As of April 2016, the Board of Pardon and Parole calculated the end of her sentence to be Jan. 29, 2024. This was due to her time served in jail and a state hospital before her conviction. The Board, however, did not count her time served in a federal prison towards her Utah sentence, according to Johnson.
One June 12, Barzee's attorney argued that her federal sentence should run the same amount of time as her state sentence, alluding that the board had miscalculated her release date.
Barzee's sister Evelyn spoke to 2News about the possibility of Barzee getting released.
“I don’t believe that she is mentally well, and I believe that she is trying to convince anybody that she can convince that she is the mother of Zion. That she is going to receive her calling and election made sure,” Barzee said. “And Elizabeth is in the wrong because she did not hold true to the covenant of marriage between she and Brian [David Mitchell] and Wanda.”
On July 2, the Board issued a decision that stated Barzee would be released on Jan. 29, 2024 as originally stated. However, upon further review and after legal counsel, the Board found that it must credit the time Barzee spent in federal prison. Therefore, Barzee's sentence will end on Sept. 19, according to Johnson.
Special conditions of Barzee's parole included that she participate in a mental health treatment program and take prescribed mental health medications. She is not to possess or consume alcohol or visit businesses that primarily serve or sell alcohol during the course of her treatment.
Barzee's complete parole order is below.