Wanda Barzee to be paroled, Elizabeth Smart calls it “incomprehensible”
UTAH STATE PRISON – A high-profile, convicted kidnapper is being let out of prison six years earlier than expected. Parole board officials say Wanda Barzee, the woman who helped kidnap and assault Elizabeth Smart, is going to be released next week.
The change was sparked after The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole acknowledged they did got give Barzee credit for the time she served in the federal prison system. In 2010 Barzee was sentenced in state and federal court on the same day.
“A state court judge said to run the sentences concurrently, or together. The federal [judge] was silent on that,” according to Utah Board of Parole and Pardons Director of Administrative Services.
Johnson says, normally, sentences for federal prison and state prison don’t run together. He explains, “For example, if you have an offense in Utah and you have a separate offense in another jurisdiction, the time wouldn’t count.”
Without the credit for the time she had already served, the board calculated Barzee’s release date for 2024. However, Johnson says their legal counsel is now telling them they have to apply the credit, so, she’ll be released on the 19th of this month.
After that, the state board would have absolutely no oversight or authority over Barzee.
Johnson says, “When a sentence expires, or you serve until the end of your sentence, then the board no longer has jurisdiction and the Department of Corrections can’t supervise,” adding, “As far as the Board of Pardons and Parole [is concerned] any no-contact order that we could enter would also expire at the end of her sentence.”
The federal government, however, does have oversight and will supervise Barzee for the next five years.
Smart’s father, Ed, tells KSL He’s frustrated with the decision, claiming he was told that the parole board has the final say on when the sentence would be completed. He also claims Barzee still has writings from her husband, Brian David Mitchell, with her, so they don’t believe she’s truly changed.
Elizabeth Smart issued a statement, saying, ““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.”