SALT LAKE CITY – A federal court proceeding is under way in Salt Lake City to determine if the man charged in the 2002 abduction of Elizabeth Smart is mentally competent to stand trial.
The hearing for Brian David Mitchell started Monday in U.S. District Court and is expected to last 10 days.
A ruling from Judge Dale Kimball is not immediately expected. But the decision will direct how the case moves forward — either to a trial or toward treatment that could restore Mitchell's competency.
Federal prosecutors contend the 56-year-old former street preacher is competent.
Defense attorneys counter that Mitchell is unable to defend himself against charges of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor.
Smart was 14 on June 5, 2002, when she was taken from her home at knifepoint. She was found in March 2003.