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First and foremost, Brian David Mitchell is a pedophile, a New York psychiatrist testified Wednesday in federal court.
But Michael Welner, testifying on behalf of the prosecution in the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping trial, emphasized that Mitchell is a sadist and also has narcissistic and anti-social personality disorders, with "the features of a psychopath."
Welner pointed to the 57-year-old defendant's "desire to degrade Smart ... [which] made her experience so horrible."
After the then 14-year-old Smart was abducted from her Salt Lake City home in June 2002, she was raped almost daily until her rescue in March 2003.
And while the girl was a captive, Mitchell also tethered her like an animal, forced her to drink alcohol, made her destroy all links to her family and forced her to watch Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Eileen Barzee, now 65, engage in sex.
But despite Welner's diagnosis, he said Mitchell doesn't have a "severe mental disease or defect," which is required in order for the jury to find the defendant not guilty by reason of insanity.
Welner the prosecution's final witness was articulate, charismatic and appeared to connect with the jury.
Defense counters • Defense attorney Wendy Lewis made sure jurors were aware that Welner's charm and expertise come with a large price tag.
The owner of a forensic consulting business, Welner said he charged the government for 1,600 hours of work on Mitchell's case at a rate of $425 per hour, which is discounted from his usual rate of $550 an hour. He also charges $5,000 per day to testify.
Add hotels, airfare and other expenses, and Welner's bill is approaching $750,000.
That makes Welner the most expensive trial witness by far. Another prosecution expert, psychiatrist Noel Gardner, charged $100,000 for his work on the case.
Lewis criticized Welner for paying two other consultants $250 and $275 per hour to advise him, then charging the government $425 an hour for their time.
She noted that one consultant made margin notes in Welner's 205-page case report, including suggestions that Welner add the word "and" to a sentence, or substitute the word "has" for "have."
"None of these are substantive," Lewis said. "This is proofreading."
"He has an eye for detail," Welner said of a consultant. "It shows he gives a darn. … Wouldn't you want to read a report that has better grammar?"
"Yes, but I have a secretary who does that," Lewis said.
During his testimony, Welner countered two defense experts who found that Mitchell suffered from religious delusions, including that he has been chosen by God to defeat the anti-Christ during an end-times battle.
Welner said delusions are defined as fixed, false beliefs.
"Insincerity of his faith" • But Mitchell, he said, has demonstrated many times that his beliefs are changeable, rather than fixed.
Welner cited an FBI interview on March 12, 2003, the day Mitchell was arrested in the company of Smart. Mitchell initially claimed to be a prophet, but then told officers he was merely a "servant" of God. And despite a revelation directing him to kidnap Smart and make her a plural wife, the girl was asked to call Mitchell and Barzee "Dad" and "Mom."
Prosecutor Diana Hagen asked Welner how he determined if Mitchell really believes his own religious notions.
"I looked at how he lived his life, and I found a number of different aspects that spoke of the insincerity of his faith," Welner said.
The psychiatrist noted that Mitchell often railed against "a corrupt world and corrupt church … and yet, there is no component of his life that is devoted to kindness."
"He eats at a homeless shelter, but he doesn't feed the homeless," Welner said. "He doesn't have a record of helping children. There is a record of him raping a child. His life is remarkably barren as it relates to acts of kindness."
Welner said that following the September 11, 2001, terrorists attacks in New York, Mitchell abandoned his biblical robes because they made him appear to be a Muslim, which was negatively impacting his panhandling income.
"He changed clothing for the purpose of getting donations," Welner said. "How does that jibe with the notion that the Lord will provide? Tests of faith would lead to the abandonment of faith."
Welner said Mitchell also demonstrated religious insincerity with the blessings he gave Barzee to calm her frustration and jealousy over Mitchell's lust for Smart. The blessings often reminded Barzee that God wanted her to be obedient to Mitchell and tolerant of his desires, according to Smart's testimony.
A chess match • A defense expert found that Mitchell suffered from schizophrenia. But Welner ruled that out, in part, because Mitchell learned how to play chess while at Utah State Hospital.
"One thing that is difficult [for schizophrenics] is thinking in the abstract and adjusting to new circumstances," Welner said. "What does a chess player do? Adjusts to circumstances and adjusts thinking. [Mitchell] learned to play chess … and he became competitive."
Another defense expert diagnosed Mitchell with delusional disorder, largely because one aspect of the illness is that sufferers can appear normal by "encapsulating" their delusions until they are triggered.
But Welner rejected that diagnosis, explaining that, typically, when the "area [of the delusion] is encroached upon, it is unmistakable and psychotic."
He said there were many instances in which Mitchell was able to discuss religious ideas, including the LDS Church and beliefs in the Book of Mormon, while continuing to act rationally. Welner said that, while discussing religion in the home of a San Diego family, Mitchell was plotting to kidnap their teenage daughter to make her yet another plural wife.
"To know Brian David Mitchell is to be fooled by Brian David Mitchell," Welner said.
He reminded jurors of how Mitchell deflected a police officer's efforts to see behind Smart's veil at the downtown Salt Lake City library in the fall of 2002.
"He's capable of redirecting individuals so capably that they are unable to discern they are being manipulated," Welner said.
He said Mitchell qualifies as a psychopath by meeting 17 of 20 criteria, including manipulation, a grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, lack of remorse, lack of empathy and irresponsibility.
Referring to Mitchell's pedophilia, Welner recounted his first meeting with him, in which he refused to speak or open his eyes until Welner played a video of Smart's March 2003 interview with another psychiatrist.
Mitchell then opened his eyes, pulled his chair close and began "leering" at the TV monitor, Welner said. "He was clearly pleased by her appearance in this clip, notwithstanding that [Smart] was talking about very painful and stressful experiences."
Also Wednesday, an agreement by attorneys was read to the jury indicating that Mitchell who is routinely ejected from court for singing hymns didn't sing on Sept. 2, 2004, when he was arraigned before a state court judge.
Instead, Mitchell stood at a 3rd District Court podium and repeated the words, "Not guilty," six times as Judge Judith Atherton read the charges against him.
The singing started on Dec. 2, 2004, about six weeks after plea negotiations failed between Mitchell and Salt Lake County prosecutors.
At that point, Mitchell's case stalled until federal prosecutors indicted him on kidnapping charges on March 5, 2008.
Jurors expected to begin deliberations by Friday
Brian David Mitchell's trial in U.S. District Court is expected to go to the jury by Friday. On Thursday, cross-examination of prosecution expert Michael Welner will continue, after which the defense may call additional witnesses.