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Posted: 10:50 AM- U.S. Magistrate Samuel Alba has ordered Brian David Mitchell, accused in the 2002 kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, to undergo mental competency examinations at a federal facility.
Under the order issued Wednesday, Mitchell will be transported to a federal corrections site in either the Los Angeles area or Springfield, Mo., to determine his competency both at the time of the alleged crime, and his current ability to assist in his own defense.
The exact location will be determined by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
Once more, Mitchell attempted to interrupt the proceedings by singing hymns, but Alba simply had him removed to another room to watch the proceedings by closed-circuit television.
Lawyers for Mitchell had argued that Alba can determine from records of previous psychological evaluations whether the self-proclaimed prophet needs another examination.
The defense attorneys also say that if a new competency examination is ordered, it should be conducted by local experts in Utah, not in an out-of-state federal prison facility. Alba disagreed.
Federal prosecutors prevailed in their request for Mitchell to be evaluated by experts from the federal prison system. Because there are no federal prison facilities in Utah, that evaluation had to be ordered done out of state.
U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball will make the final decision on whether Mitchell is competent to stand trial. Alba is handling pretrial matters.
A state judge previously found that Mitchell and his wife and co-defendant, Wanda Eileen Barzee, were mentally incompetent to stand trial. Recently, the same state judge ruled against forcibly medicating Mitchell, saying the likelihood of success was too low.
That led the U.S. Attorney's Office to begin its case against the couple, who were indicted last year by a federal grand jury.
Mitchell, 54, and Barzee, 62, are accused of taking then-14-year-old Smart on June 5, 2002, from her Federal Heights home. They were arrested in March 2003 while walking in Sandy with the girl.