CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Parole hearing Tuesday morning for Wanda Barzee

Jun 12, 2018, 5:45 AM | Updated: 10:53 am
Al Hartmann/Deseret News Wanda Barzee at her May 2010 sentencing

UTAH STATE PRISON — The woman convicted of helping kidnap Elizabeth Smart refused to attend a scheduled meeting before the state parole board Tuesday morning.

Wanda Barzee’s refusal comes after she also declined to take part in a required psychological evaluation. In her absence, the parole board spent just three minutes reviewing her case.

Barzee was denied parole at her last hearing in February 2011. At the time, Elizabeth’s parents Ed and Lois Smart asked the board to make Barzee serve her full time. They said they never want her to have the chance of hurting another child again.

If Barzee serves her full state sentence, she would be released from custody in 2024 when she is 79 years old. Barzee served federal time in Texas first, and received credit for her time previously served in the state mental hospital and Salt Lake County jail.

She pleaded guilty and mentally ill for the 2002 attempted kidnapping of Smart’s cousin Olivia Wright as well.

Barzee’s co-conspirator in the Smart kidnapping, Brian David Mitchell, is serving a life sentence in prison in Arizona.

This month marked 16 years since Elizabeth was taken from her bedroom in 2002.  Recently she wrote on Instagram about the gift of forgiveness.

“A question I’m always asked when I speak is, “have you forgiven your captors?” Yes. But when I say yes, I don’t mean I think their actions are acceptable. For example I will never be ok with rape, abuse, or kidnapping. But to me forgiveness is another word for self love, and perhaps the greatest form of self love. And I forgive my captors because I love myself enough to want happiness, joy, and freedom. And holding onto the negativity, pain, and suffering from my past doesn’t allow me to embrace and live my life fully now. It didn’t happen overnight, and my family and God we’re absolutely instrumental in coming to this place. But I believe everyone should have a chance at happiness and I refuse to let mine pass me by.”

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Parole hearing Tuesday morning for Wanda Barzee