SALT LAKE CITY – A homeless street preacher and self-proclaimed prophet pleaded not guilty on Thursday to kidnapping and other charges in the knifepoint abduction of Elizabeth Smart (search).
Brian David Mitchell (search) answered "not guilty" six times for each of the charges read to him by the judge.
His trial was set for the first week in February.
A grand jury indictment against Mitchell was unsealed Wednesday, a day after Mitchell was ruled competent to stand trial.
Mitchell, 50, and his 58-year-old wife, Wanda Barzee (search), are both charged with kidnapping the then-14-year-old from her bedroom in 2002. The girl was allegedly taken into the foothills near the home, sexually assaulted and kept as Mitchell's second wife.
The two face counts of kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated burglary and conspiracy. The couple has been in custody since Elizabeth was found with them along a suburban street in March 2003.
The indictment removed the need for a public preliminary hearing that might have required sensitive testimony from Elizabeth.
The indictment also applies to Barzee, who has been twice deemed incompetent to stand trial, and is undergoing treatment at a state mental hospital. She is scheduled to be re-evaluated next August.
Earlier this week, Mitchell's defense decided not to contest the question of whether he was competent to stand trial after the judge ruled the competency hearing would be open. The defense had sought to close it, arguing media reports concerning Mitchell's mental state would taint the jury pool.