State charges against Brian David Mitchell dismissed

Published: Tuesday, July 12 2011 2:06 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — The final chapter of the Brian David Mitchell kidnapping case against Elizabeth Smart may have been inked Tuesday.

Third District Judge Judith Atherton officially dismissed the state felony charges against the man accused of kidnapping and raping Smart.

With the state charges dismissed, the Bureau of Prisons can now begin the process of moving Mitchell out of Utah to a federal prison where he will officially begin serving a life sentence on his federal conviction.

In June, the Salt Lake District Attorney's Office filed a motion in 3rd District Court to have the state charges against Mitchell dismissed. Mitchell was charged with six felonies including aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated burglary for the kidnapping of Smart and the attempted kidnapping of her cousin.

Tuesday, District Attorney Sim Gill filed a request to have Atherton make a decision. He said the deadline for Mitchell's attorneys to respond to his motion had come and gone.

"To date, the defendant has not filed a responsive pleading or objection to the motion, and no hearing on the motion has been requested," Gill said in court document filed Tuesday.

Less than an hour after Gill filed his request, Atherton officially dismissed the state charges against Mitchell.

Mitchell, along with his estranged wife and co-defendant, Wanda Barzee, was charged in 3rd District Court after being arrested in 2003. But after several drawn-out hearings concerning Mitchell's competency and whether he was eligible for forced medication, Atherton ruled on Oct. 9, 2008, that Mitchell was was incompetent to stand trial and not eligible to be involuntarily medicated in an attempt to restore his competency.

The next day, Mitchell's case in the federal system was moved to the forefront and his state case put on hold.

In May 2011, Mitchell was sentenced in federal court to life in prison. In the federal system, there is no possibility of parole.

Monday, Mitchell's federal defenders announced their client had decided not to file an appeal to his federal conviction.

Dismissing the state case is something both Gill and the Smart family favored.

"We would never see justice in the state court the way it stands," Ed Smart told the Deseret News in June. "Just because the federal court found him competent doesn't mean our state court would find him competent. It could go on forever."

"The fact is, we're not going to be able to get anything beyond what the federal system gave," Gill said in June.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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