Why Elizabeth Smart kidnapper Wanda Barzee will be released from prison next week

Why board reversed itself, allowing Wanda Barzee to walk away from prison next week

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  • Middle of the road Mormon South Jordan, UT
    Sept. 17, 2018 12:54 p.m.

    @worf - McAllen, TX

    "A good reason for capital punishment.

    What happened to Elizabeth resembles murder."

    No it does not! I have a family member who was murdered.

    Your comments appear to consistently approve of Trump, and a very authoritarian style of government. Your comments are not consistent with western democratic values, or human rights.

    Overtime I and many others I know have begun to wonder if you are working for powers that seek to destroy the USA.

  • Edmunds Tucker St. George, UT
    Sept. 14, 2018 12:54 a.m.

    Does she get to vote?

  • mrjj69 bountiful, UT
    Sept. 14, 2018 12:07 a.m.

    i agree with Elizabeth.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Sept. 13, 2018 9:06 p.m.

    Allowing people to serve sentences for kidnapping and accessory to rape concurrently is a travesty. The federal and state crimes were distinct acts, and so should be the punishment.

  • worf McAllen, TX
    Sept. 13, 2018 11:16 a.m.

    A good reason for capital punishment.

    What happened to Elizabeth resembles murder.

  • Middle of the road Mormon South Jordan, UT
    Sept. 13, 2018 9:58 a.m.

    She's a sick woman. She did not kill anyone. Was she a battered woman with a fragile mental state that was probably manipulated by another - most likely.

    Let's pray she gets the help she needs, and that Elizabeth Smart and family are going to be ok too.

    We need better mental health in the USA.

  • FelisConcolor Layton, UT
    Sept. 12, 2018 7:17 p.m.

    To Angelsings & similar-minded persons:

    1. Wanda Barzee pleaded guilty to federal charges of kidnapping. She spent 6 years in federal prison, which were counted as part of her state sentence as per her plea agreement.

    2. The requirements that Barzee receive treatment and counseling in prison were conditions for her parole, not her release. She has served her full sentence, and is now free to go regardless of what she did or did not do in prison.

    3. You are free to write to the parole board if you wish, but since Barzee is no longer under their jurisdiction there is nothing they can do.

    4. Similarly, you are free to write to the governor or your legislator and demand stricter sentences and an end to plea deals and early parole.

    But be prepared to pay significantly higher taxes for more prosecutors, judges, jails, and prisons, as the loss of plea deals and parole will result in overcrowded prisons and clogged courts.

    And be prepared to be called more often for jury duty, as no plea deals guarantees that all criminals will get a jury trial.

  • justmesal MOUNTAIN VIEW, WY
    Sept. 12, 2018 4:56 p.m.

    @ Meckofahess - Salt Lake City, UT

    "Time to move on Elizabeth. . .Part of your own healing will be in the forgiveness of Wanda.
    Of course Elizabeth & the Smarts need to forgive. But this has nothing to do with forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean be willing to put your family in danger. Are you willing to let known sex offenders live next door to your children, even if they served their time, knowing that they rejected all the things they were supposed to do in order to be released at a certain time. Anyone who equates Elizabeth's comments with meaning she is not forgiving, are not thinking clearly at all. Let's say a kleptomaniac took something important from you, went to jail, refused treatment, and was released at the end of his sentence. He/she decides they want to be in your neighborhood. You forgave the person for what they did, but does that mean you are going to trust them to never do it again. This isn't about, "I'll forgive, but I won't forget." This is about protection of your family, which is what Elizabeth wants for her family. In so many cases protection orders do not work. If a person is going to break the law, a piece of paper isn't going to stop them.

  • Akman Santaquin, UT
    Sept. 12, 2018 4:03 p.m.

    Crimes against children should be a one way ticket to jail. No remorse. No reason to beleave she is changed.

    The message should be, “ Abduct a child rot in jail. “

    And make all sexual crimes committed on children a Capitol offense.

  • Trishpatsy02 Golden Valley, AZ
    Sept. 12, 2018 4:02 p.m.

    There is an old T V show called "Maude" . Her favorite saying was "God will get you for that" I believe that He will get both of them and that he will protect you and your family. There are millions of prayers for you including mine

  • Flipphone Sandy, UT
    Sept. 12, 2018 12:35 p.m.

    You would think by the amount of media attention Elizabeth Smart receives that she was the only child ever kidnapped.

  • search diligently Lehi, UT
    Sept. 12, 2018 11:20 a.m.

    I am not Wanda's judge and I won't be her jury in this though I think she got off easy for her involvement in the kidnapping and rape of Elizabeth.

    That said, Elizabeth and all the Smarts deserve a restraining order by the courts served on Wanda that she will not come within XX miles or XX yards of the family.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Sept. 12, 2018 11:11 a.m.


    If Wanda can be persuaded as she was to torture and rape a little girl daily, then she can be persuaded again. In my opinion, she is a danger to society jut because of how unintelligent she is and how easily persuaded she is to torture and rape a little girl daily.

    Jesus can heal one's mind. Wanda has not gone through such healing, as is evident by her behavior in prison.

    We'll have to disagree on your points.

  • TheJester American Fork, UT
    Sept. 12, 2018 10:56 a.m.

    @Johnny Triumph (and the rest of the "Never Enough Punishment" crowd)

    There seems to be a recurring line of thinking here. Basically many of you believe that people who commit crimes against others can never be rehabilitated. To follow your line of thinking, if someone assaults someone else, causing injury to the victim, the sentence should be "life with no possibility of parole" as the victim will have to live with memories of the assault the rest of their lives.

    This line of thinking is contrary to the goal of the criminal justice system (and, may I add, is contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ). We, as a country and legal system, believe that criminals can become useful, law-abiding members of society. The goal of incarceration should be rehabilitation, while at the same time serving as a real consequence for those who commit criminal acts. In this case Ms. Barzee completed the entirety of her sentence. If the state had compelling evidence that she would be a danger to society upon release, they are obligated to present those beliefs to a judge for consideration. Otherwise, Ms. Barzee is free to move on with her life.

  • Angelsings Glendale, AZ
    Sept. 12, 2018 10:23 a.m.

    One comment stated Wanda Barzee has paid her debt to society. Really? What about her debt to Elizabeth Smart? That can never be repaid. Barzee's rights are taking precedence to Elizabeth's. There is no justice in that.

  • BlueMoonOden Hinckley, IL
    Sept. 12, 2018 10:00 a.m.

    At least Mitchell wasn't released. They say Wanda will be under state supervision for five years but I don't have much faith they will keep a close eye on her. My guess is eventually she will wind up homeless and on the streets.

  • PGVikingDad Pleasant Grove, UT
    Sept. 12, 2018 9:24 a.m.

    Elizabeth was missing for nine months, and she was raped nearly every day. Wanda was sentenced to 15 years as a result. That translates to roughly three weeks behind bars for every rape. Sounds...fair?


  • neece Hyde Park, UT
    Sept. 12, 2018 9:01 a.m.

    She has served her time period.

    Elizabeth you are one strong classy lady who never let what happened define her life. Remember Heavenly Father protected you before, he won't let you down now. Good luck and God Bless.

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 12, 2018 8:43 a.m.

    The problem comes not from releasing her after serving her sentence, but why the criminal justice system allowed her to plead to a lesser charge after participating in such a horrific crime.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Sept. 12, 2018 8:44 a.m.

    Re: "If she was sentenced to 15 years, then she needs to be released (with federal time counting concurrent with state time, as agreed long ago). That's fair."

    What's not fair is that the Atty Gen's office has not stepped forward to pursue civil commitment of Ms. Barzee. She is clearly someone who has demonstrated, by her actions in illegally assuming ownership over another person and in refusing treatment and rehabilitation, that she poses a continuing danger, both to Ms. Smart and to the community, in general.

    The plea agreement was clearly too lenient, but the clear and continuing danger could be addressed through civil commitment -- if the political will existed.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Sept. 12, 2018 8:21 a.m.

    Wanda was a guilty of torture and sex abuse of a child as Warren Jeffs. Why is the sentence different? Oh yeah, Utah vs Texas.


  • NeilT Ogden, UT
    Sept. 12, 2018 8:17 a.m.

    Chhebgen. Peace comes from a suicide. Really

  • Den Den West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 12, 2018 7:56 a.m.

    If there are concerns about Barzee coming around Smart or her family, this is a open carry state, she can protect herself within the statues of the law.

  • 1Observer Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 12, 2018 6:31 a.m.

    @JBs - Aggravated rape and kidnapping already carry life sentences. The problem in this case, as in many cases, is the penchant for prosecutors to plea cases down to lesser offenses so they don’t have to try them. The reasoning stems from the unpredictible outcome with juries and the desire to keep victims off the stand to spare them the ordeal of publicly reliving their crime. Sometimes the prosecution will consult with victims and their families before offering a deal to make sure they feel okay about it. I don’t know if that happened in this case. I’ve often felt our Board of Pardons has been too soft on criminals but in this case it is an unfortunate matter of math and a light deal made 15 years ago. My heart goes out to Elizabeth and her family. Too bad a harsher deal wasn’t made from the beginning. Though I seem to remember some sentiment at the time that Ms. Barzee was part “victim” as well because of her mental capacity and Mr. Mitchell’s control over her.

  • Zabilde Riverdale, UT
    Sept. 12, 2018 3:17 a.m.

    The question shouldn't be should she be released. She has met the full requirements of her sentence. 15 years, served concurrently. She has paid her dues to society.

    The question should be, is she mentally stable and capable of surviving on her own at this age. Her past behaviors indicate she is not stable. So she should be released from prison, her time is served, it could have been longer but was shortened in return for her assistance against Williams who will not get this opportunity, but instead of just being set free, if unstable she needs to be committed.

    With her mental condition she'll likely end up back on the streets and dead within a few months. She was not the mastermind of her crime, he is still locked up, she is not likely to recommit that kind of crime.

    She served her time, she has to be released. But to what bleak future with her mental instability and age?

  • Susan Quinton Draper, UT
    Sept. 12, 2018 1:43 a.m.

    Elizabeth Smart is one classy lady, who came out of a horrific situation ready to stand up for others nationwide who needed her....we have always been impressed with her and her extended family.

  • Bob Tanner Price, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 11:38 p.m.

    If this isn't a travesty of justice , I don't know what is. This woman is not in control of her actions and poses a threat to society. It is always better to be safe rather than sorry...she is safe and the public is safe with her staying right where she is. Let's hope it is not too late for those in power to reconsider. And my heat goes out to Elizabeth...imagine how she must feel knowing one of her kidnappers is on the loose.

  • Angelsings Glendale, AZ
    Sept. 11, 2018 11:28 p.m.

    To: Felis Concolor & similar-minded persons.
    This case is a prime example of the court of public opinion being appalled & outraged so they're saying the laws in America need to be made stringent instead of lenient with all loopholes secured. Kidnapping used to be categorized as a Federal CRIME. How on earth is it permissible to kidnap someone of any age, threatened them & the lives of their family, hold them hostage, rape/terrorize/brutalized/starve them & be out of prison in 15 years? Will they reoffend? Will they escalate to murder? Wanda Barzee is unrepentant for what she did. She did not comply with mental health stipulations. She should be incarcerated or institutionalized for the rest of her life. Thankfully, Elizabeth Smart did not let herself be defined by what these two uncivilized, heathen monsters did to her for 9 months. If this happened to someone you love, you'd feel differently because it would be personalized. Everyone please write the Utah Parole Board & protest the release of Wanda Barzee.

  • LRBS Clovis, CA
    Sept. 11, 2018 11:05 p.m.

    Having worked for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation since 1987, I think I have a unique perspective on this issue. As a citizen, I understand the concern for Elizabeth's family's safety as well as the general public. As a Career Technical Education Teacher to a largely sex offender population, I know that criminals CAN be rehabilitated if they take responsibility for their crime(s), make restitution, and comply with any mandatory educational training or mental health therapy. The complication in this case is that Barzee plea-bargained to get a reduced sentence, but she did not comply with her mental health therapy while incarcerated, which was part of the conditions of her sentence. Serving a particular amount of "time" does not ensure a person is no longer a danger to society. The parole board should have taken into account her failure to comply with mental health therapy AND required her to attend her parole hearing to be properly assessed. Considering her advanced age, minimal employable skills and poor mental health status, she will likely end up living on the streets again, which makes her more likely to recidivate.

  • FelisConcolor Layton, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 10:24 p.m.

    It's amazing, and somewhat frightening, to see just how many people in our society have zero understanding of how the law works, and express a desire to ignore what the law says when it doesn't suit their notion of justice.

    This decision by the board had nothing to do with parole. Barzee's sentence is up; she is a free woman. She served the maximum sentence for the charge to which she pleaded guilty, and the parole board realized they could no longer keep her in custody.

    We are a nation of laws, not feelings. Some of you may wish to live in a society that bases its criminal punishments on whatever public opinion demands at the time, but I'd rather take my chances with viewpoint-neutral laws that are equally applied to all persons, regardless of how loathsome they may be.

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 9:38 p.m.

    So much angst over the release of Wanda Barzee, with no apparent worry of the other wolves loose in the henhouse.

  • TKB Provo, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 8:08 p.m.

    Delusional personalities tend to maintain fixed false beliefs even when confronted with the facts. Wanda appears to fall into that category. Elizabeth raised a valid point that if Wanda did not comply or benefit from the mental health interventions while incarcerated, the likelihood of her compliance following release is very low. While the letter of the law says she has satisfied her debt to society, the fact is she is likely to maintain her loyalty to her delusional husband. How will she survive without Mitchel telling her what to do? She could end up in the homeless population. We have seen the Warren Jeffs and Jim Jones of the world wield their power and influence over gullible folks with tragic results. Perhaps placement in a forensic mental health unit would be a better solution rather than releasing her back into society where there is a possibility of her reoffending.

  • ji_ Ketchikan, AK
    Sept. 11, 2018 7:36 p.m.

    If she was sentenced to 15 years, then she needs to be released (with federal time counting concurrent with state time, as agreed long ago). That's fair.

  • toosmartforyou Kaysville, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 6:56 p.m.

    Unfortunately the Smart's were probably of the opinion that the criminal justice system was designed to meet out justice. With plea bargains and appeals galore, what it really has evolved into becoming is a huge and primary source of income for attorneys. And they are poised to take any case, regardless of it's merit or lack thereof, for as long as they can to squeeze the proverbial blood out of the turnip since win, lose or draw they get paid right off the top. Judges of course readily facilitate that practice. Those expecting justice in the courts in our country (even though they are better than in many countries) are going to have a long wait and in fact will likely be denied at least a portion of it in this life.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 6:40 p.m.

    @DN Subscriber
    I agree those with mental health issues that we know have violent tendencies need to be institutionalized for their safety and the safety of the community. unfortunately that will require action, It will require changes to existing laws and of course money to run such institutions, something the public never quit seems to have the stomach for. I have worked with in the mental health field mostly with the homeless and high risk populations for 30 years and we often know who many of these individuals are and we along with the police do what we can within the existing system to keep them and other safe but it is often hard to even get them the most basic of services such as basic health care and medications. I look at the paper every morning with dread knowing the risk of this population and knowing there is very little I can.

  • emb Pleasant Grove, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 6:26 p.m.

    I agree with Elizabeth.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 6:02 p.m.

    We have a very complex legal system which is great for all the (too many) lawyers involved in jumping through the hoops.

    We have a lousy justice system which fails to protect the victims or punish the guilty.

    The kidnapping accomplice's sentences should never have been allowed to run concurrently instead of consecutively. Mentally ill persons, especially those convicted of violent felonies, should not be allowed to roam the streets, but should be institutionalized.

    Best wishes to the victim for future happines and safety from all evil people.

  • Alex T Murray, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 5:44 p.m.

    Barzee was given a 15 year sentence. She served 15 years. Simple. No need to keep her in an already crowded prison system that we continue to pay for. It's not like her life is going to be much easier on the outside...

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 5:42 p.m.

    I really hope that you are not a pharmacist because refusing to provide someone medications based on your personal biases is very unethical based on the standards of your profession.

  • JBs Logan, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 5:23 p.m.

    I don't picture Elizabeth wringing her hands and feeling like a victim of the horror she experienced while in captivity. She seems to be a survivor more than anything, whatever that means for her and to be handling this in a remarkably healthy way.

  • JBs Logan, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 5:09 p.m.

    It seems to me that the legislature needs to enact stiffer penalties for rape and also kidnapping. The brutality of these crimes is not reflected in the sentences, as in this specific case, especially when the inmate is non-compliant with treatment, etc. Until that happens, the laws have to be followed.

  • Thekman Woods Cross, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 4:54 p.m.

    I am disturbed by the number of people in this thread who would be perfectly okay with arbitrarily extending a prison sentence, apparently up to the offender's entire life, based on how they personally feel about the details of the offense in question. What country and what century do they think they are living in?

    The tragic flaw of the criminal justice system is not that a person can be convicted of a crime they did commit and then serve their entire sentence in prison, it is that people can be convicted (or compelled by circumstances to plead guilty) to crimes they did not commit and then serve draconian minimum prison terms with no recourse or public sympathy.

    Elizabeth deserves justice, peace, and healing. As many of these commentators would in other contexts proclaim to believe, that healing can only come through the atonement of Jesus Christ -- and that is not in any way conditioned on the length of Barzee's sentence on earth.

  • Angelsings Glendale, AZ
    Sept. 11, 2018 4:50 p.m.

    That is unconscionable ! It's another example of America's illogical criminal justice system. Please, everyone contact that board & vehemently protest. Keep Wanda Barzee incarcerated or institutionalized forever; she committed a heinous crime that's inexcusable.

  • Brent T. Aurora CO Aurora, CO
    Sept. 11, 2018 4:28 p.m.

    Seems like there would be wiggle room here to 1)extend supervision and 2)tender a permanent restraining order on her going anywhere near Elizabeth or her family (husband, children, parents, siblings). But I agree with those pointing out the sentence was served and that the time for angst over whatever excess of leniency was extended was back when she was sentenced.

  • Born in Bountiful Provo, Utah
    Sept. 11, 2018 4:23 p.m.

    The crime was reprehensible, but she served every day of her sentence. Thus, she gets released. If she is mentally ill, the federal court probation officer can first recommend and then seek court assistance in getting her into counseling and a facility if her behavior warrants it, which means she can be forced to get help and be good or go back to jail for the remaining 5 years of the supervised release time. Let's also remember that she is in her 70s and from the photos, not in great shape.

  • pharmacist South Jordan, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 4:19 p.m.

    I really hope Wanda never comes into the pharmacy I work at. I do not think I could ever fill a prescription for her-- I would have to tell to go someplace else. What she did to Elizabeth should have kept her in prison for another 30 years.

  • cjhebgen Provo, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 4:10 p.m.

    The likelihood of Wanda going back to prison are probably pretty high, in my opinion. Her attitude seems to be pushing her towards some sort of likelihood of re-offending. I had a friend whose family was held hostage at gunpoint until at an opportune moment, he was overpowered and his gun taken away. He went to prison. The family would routinely get notices of his parole but fortunately he kept getting in trouble in prison that added to his sentence. When he was finally released, the family ensured that they were well-protected. The only peace came when they learned that the perpetrator committed suicide a few months out of prison. I believe change can happen, and hopefully it does in this case, but I won't be surprised if we hear within the next year that Wanda is rearrested.

  • Johnny Triumph Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 3:59 p.m.

    I'm amazed that the victim suffers with no end to sentence while those inflicting pain are allowed to have it end, not to mention having no one to report to now that the sentence is complete. It's a shame that Ms Smart has to live now looking over her shoulder. I realize that the law is the law but we have a flawed system

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 3:50 p.m.

    Love all the arm chair coaches these threads about the justice system, homeless and addictionbring out. Here is a thought log off your computers wedge yourselves of that couch and get involved.

  • bamafone Salem, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 3:25 p.m.

    Beyond bizarre to let this woman out.

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    Sept. 11, 2018 3:08 p.m.

    This is how our justice system can come back to bite us. All the wheeling and dealing done in the justice system creates nightmares like this. While the criminal will walk free after serving their complete sentence, the victim continues to serve a life sentence.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Sept. 11, 2018 2:58 p.m.

    If Wanda "has not cooperated with her mental health evaluations or risk assessments and someone who did not show up to her own parole hearing" she is still obviously mentally deranged and a danger to society. Given her past behavior and present mental instability, can't she be put in a mental health facility until she shows that she is mentally competent? That's not a prison sentence but it will at least keep her off the streets. Is her defense attorney just pleased that she's getting out of prison or does he have any concern for Wanda's welfare and the safety of 14 year old girls.

  • liberate Sandy, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 2:48 p.m.

    This is exactly why we have a criminal justice system that does not have the victim determine punishment. I hope both can move on with their lives.

  • wwookie Payson, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 2:42 p.m.

    Law of Moses might have just taken her life.

    I prefer the enlightened approach championed by Christ himself.

    Her sentence was served and will have a final judgment awarded her in the afterlife. Not for us to judge.

    I feel for Elizabeth and hope she can cope with this.

    It also sounds like this criminal's testimony led to the key perpetrator getting a life sentence. Would all of the naysayers here have given this woman another ten years to then be released at the same time as that evil man? I would prefer he be locked up for life.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Sept. 11, 2018 2:44 p.m.

    To suggest that Elizabeth Smart has not worked towards forgiveness on this issue is inappropriate. I believe It to be a mistaken understanding to presume that if someone remembers still that they have not forgiven. We can forgive others without the process requiring that we welcome the offender into our lives with open arms. Forgiving someone does not always immediately restore the trust that was lost or require that we do not take future precautions.

    I can certainly sympathize - she was victimized in a way few are. The trauma is real, the fears are real. I believe that Elizabeth has worked heroically to move on with her life; including working towards forgiveness to an extent that most of us will never have to deal with. The thought that she might ever have to go through the ordeal again would leave anyone at least a little concerned and apprehensive.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 2:35 p.m.

    Those of you who are calling on Elizabeth to forgive and move on are like armchair quarterbacks. It's so easy to say what others should do when we have not walked in their shoes.

    Elizabeth is a mother now, and whether or not she has forgiven her tormenters doesn't stop her from rightly worrying about an unstable individual contacting her or her children.

    She knows better than nearly all of us that bad things, unimaginably bad things can and do happen.

    If you all had experienced what she has and now had children of your own you might react exactly as she has.

    Back down on the forgiveness thing. It's not your business.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Sept. 11, 2018 2:22 p.m.

    Love ya, Elizabeth, but this is not "incomprehensible." For as heinous as the crime was, she served her entire sentence! In a democracy, that's how it works. I'm grateful we're not Latin America, where people can be imprisoned indefinitely and have their sentences extended on a whim.

    If you don't want her released, argue for longer sentences. Of course, you'll also have to vote for a tax increase to build another prison to house all these longer sentences, and we all know Utahns will never do that.

  • Miss Piggie Springville, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 2:18 p.m.

    @Anti Bush-Obama:
    "MISS PIGGIE... Should jaywalkers also be in prison for life? Clearly you don't believe the punishment should fit the crime."

    Jaywalkers rarely, if ever, ruin someone else's life. Fortunately, Miss Smart was able to recover and go on with her life. But, she will always have the memories to haunt her, which well may negatively effect her as she moves through life.

  • Slcut Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 2:17 p.m.

    She served her time and should be released. I hope we give her a chance to make a life for herself after prison. She will have the same opportunities as the Smarts to tell her side of the story maybe Oprah, a book or a movie.

  • The Judge Kaysville, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 2:17 p.m.

    She completed her sentence. She paid her debt to society. Not sure why that's not enough for some people.

  • Harrison Bergeron Holladay , UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 2:14 p.m.

    She has served her time. The parole board no longer has jurisdiction. And prison probably was never the best place for her. But letting her roam free in society is going to be a disaster. How will she even take care of herself? The most humane thing would be to have her involuntarily committed to a mental institution where she can live out the rest of her life in peace. She is going to be dependent on society no matter what. It would be better to have her institutionalized where at least she cannot be a danger to others.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 2:08 p.m.

    On the continuum from law and order to compassion for the felon, the pendulum is far to the left at the moment.

    Judgments like this one shift the momentum back toward law and order.

    The papers are filled with crimes committed by felons with rap sheets who served three of seven years and have lashed out violently. Sometimes there are two or three previous prison terms in their background...and they are back on the street.

    It is fashionable and celebrated when they forgive the criminal. Add racial politics and accusations of profiling, and you have a tendency to be tolerant.

    Penal rehabilitation has not been successful. Behavioral scientists have guessed wrong far too often in parole cases, with disastrous results.

    Perhaps now is the time to get serious about protecting society.

  • lex loci Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 2:05 p.m.

    Wanda served her sentence and should/must be released from prison.

    The issue people are realizing is we treat use the prison system, instead of institutions, to treat our mentally ill. This has ramifications far beyond Wanda and Elizabeth. Talk to the kids at Sandy Hook or victims in any other mass shooting. Almost all shooters are mentally ill and should be institutionalized but are not because ?????. I think we should start using institutions to treat the mentally ill.

    Happy that Elizabeth survived the ordeal scars and all, moved on and has a successful life and family.

    Wanda will likely re-join the ranks of the homeless living on soup kitchen handouts and under the threat of street violence. A tough life. Being poor is hard.

    Elizabeth should use her considerable influence to find real solutions that make society safer rather than improperly asking for more prison time.

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 2:04 p.m.

    Time to move on Elizabeth. Wanda has paid her price to society and you have moved on to a comfortable and happy life. Part of your own healing will be in the forgiveness of Wanda. Now I agree that Wanda should be on the registered sex offender list and she should be encouraged to get a job and do some productive things with her life and to become a better person going forward.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Sept. 11, 2018 2:00 p.m.

    I hope someone keeps an eye on her.

  • 3grandslams Eagle Mountain, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 1:54 p.m.

    This is a major failure of the justice system. It's time to reexamine how we punish serious criminals. Elizabeth should never have to deal with this again.

  • Husker2 Aurora, MN
    Sept. 11, 2018 1:36 p.m.

    Sadly, Elizabeth is a victim for a second time thanks to the incompetence of the state justice system. Now she has to worry about Barzee ringing her doorbell or going after her children. How can Barzee not attend counseling or her parole hearing and still be released?

    All those Americans who feel families shouldn't be forcibly separated should demand Barzee be reunited with her husband in the federal prison.

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 1:28 p.m.

    Wow - I apparently haven't read about her for a long time. The last time I read about her she sounded like she was actually getting help and recognizing the wrong she did. I had hopes in her being able to be rehabilitated (Mitchell seems as hopeless an individual as any I've heard of), but the information cited in this article makes it very concerning. Granted, the most concerning is that shared by Elizabeth herself and she is - for very good reason - biased. All that said, I'm uncomfortable with her release, but it is what it is. She served the sentence that was given. She gets released.

    More than anything my heart goes out to the Smart family. They expected another 6 years to attempt to heal from the tragedy. They expected six more years to mentally prepare for this day so that they could manage it. With only eight days of notice they now have to suddenly go through all of that in an abbreviated time. I can only imagine the lost sleep, nightmares, PTSD, etc. that they have experienced, will continue to experience, and will particularly experience over the next several days/weeks/months. I wish we could make all the pain and hurt go away.

  • water rocket Magna, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 1:23 p.m.

    Part of Elizabeth Smart's own healing process is her need to forgive her kidnappers. Who knows but what Wanda Barzee wasn't a victim in her own way, too? Now Brian (evil brain) Mitchell is a different story, but Elizabeth needs to forgive him as well. After all, she only hurts herself if she doesn't.

  • Jefferson, Thomas Bluffdale, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 1:20 p.m.

    Barzee wasn't just the co-kidnapper, she was the co-rapist, and co-mental/physical abuser. She couldn't have helped much with Brian's prosecution, If my memory is correct she didn't testify and mentally wasn't capable of much assistance. Somehow they just pulled 5 1/2 years out of the hat? 5 1/2 years is a bit more than a clerical/paperwork error. There doesn't appear much that can be done but someone should probably lose their court/corrections job over this one.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 1:19 p.m.

    @Anti Bush-Obama - , 00
    Sept. 11, 2018 1:00 p.m.
    I bet you guys would want a mattress tag ripper in jail for life also."

    Sounds like someone should take a basic law class. Tearing off your mattress tag is not a crime. It is if you're a retailer, but it's a misconception that it's illegal to tear off a tag from your property.

  • Weston Jurney West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 1:19 p.m.

    I hope she at least has to register as a sex offender.

  • SC Matt Saline, MI
    Sept. 11, 2018 1:19 p.m.

    This is sure not to be a popular opinion, but she served all 15 years of a 15 year sentence. It is (by definition) time to release her.

    Perhaps the state erred when it agreed to run her state sentence concurrently with the federal sentence, but that ship sailed a LONG time ago.

    Besides, the state got a benefit from that. It got her to cooperate to put Williams in jail for life.

    I hate the fact that she's getting out. But I really don't see any other option after a full 15 years in prison.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 1:17 p.m.

    Re: "I bet you guys would want a mattress tag ripper in jail for life also."

    Equating ripping a mattress tag with the horrific crimes committed by Barzee and her then-and-current mentor is an insult to, not just to the entire Smart family, but to all victims of vicious sexual predation.


  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 1:02 p.m.

    @Anti Bush-Obama - , 00
    Sept. 11, 2018 12:53 p.m.
    You can't keep someone in prison for longer than their sentence is. Somebody needs to take a basic criminal law course."

    Yes, but part of her plea deal, for shorter sentencing, was that she work all those years on her mental health. She didn't.

  • Anti Bush-Obama , 00
    Sept. 11, 2018 1:00 p.m.

    I bet you guys would want a mattress tag ripper in jail for life also.

  • Anti Bush-Obama , 00
    Sept. 11, 2018 12:59 p.m.


    Should jaywalkers also be in prison for life? Clearly you don't believe the punishment should fit the crime.

  • Anti Bush-Obama , 00
    Sept. 11, 2018 12:53 p.m.

    You can't keep someone in prison for longer than their sentence is. Somebody needs to take a basic criminal law course.

  • Lets check the facts Santa Fe, NM
    Sept. 11, 2018 12:50 p.m.

    It seems to me that a "true defense" attorney should be interested in getting her the help she needs rather than just letting her out on the streets.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 12:39 p.m.

    "“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," Smart said."

    I rarely agree with Ed Smart. I feel he made a career (and a lot of money) by using Elizabeth's ordeal. But, he's spot on here. You are supposed to be eligible for parole by serving your time while working on bettering yourself. If she refused to attend counseling classes she should still stay in prison until she gets the message.

  • Anonymous100 Anywhere, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 12:37 p.m.

    This is unbelievable! Accessory to child kidnapping and rape and she's going to be out on the streets to meet up with some other creep and what, do it all over again? Time served should not matter. The question is, is she ready and able to integrate back into society? I'm thinking no, she's not. She is better off remaining in prison and so are the people of Utah.

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 12:15 p.m.

    Prediction: By Christmas she'll either be dead or back in jail. This woman has issues.

  • Miss Piggie Springville, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 12:10 p.m.

    Big mistake. She should be in prison for life.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 12:07 p.m.

    Given what she was an accomplice to, I find this a miscarriage of justice.

    And since we're all addicted to "sexism" these days, someone tell me what a "male" accomplice to Mitchell's horrific crimes would have received.

  • Weston Jurney West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 11, 2018 11:06 a.m.

    From three hots and a cot, back to homelessness. And I have a feeling that other homeless people won't exactly welcome her to their midst with open arms.