Transcript: Wanda Barzee testifies in the Elizabeth Smart kidnap trial
Brian David Mitchell's wife, Wanda Barzee, began testifying in his kidnapping trial Thursday in U.S. District Court.
Mitchell is accused of taking Elizabeth Smart at knifepoint from her Salt Lake City home in 2002. He and Barzee then held her captive and sexually assaulted her in Utah and California for nine months before they were found with her on a Sandy street in 2003.
Barzee pleaded guilty for her role in the case, but she is testifying on behalf of the defense. Her testimony is expected to span two days.
The Tribune is providing this transcript of the proceedings via its reporters at the courthouse. Every effort is made to ensure accuracy and timeliness, but it is not an official court transcript.
The testimony is complete for the day.
For past coverage of the trial, including the testimony of Elizabeth Smart, visit http://www.sltrib.com/topics/mitchell.
To go directly to Wanda Barzee's testimony, use this link http://tinyurl.com/3xeto7g.
Brian David Mitchell entered the courtroom around 8:25 a.m. Thursday morning. He took his seat at the defense table and began singing "Come, Come, Emmanuel" as lawyers, media and onlookers settled into their places.
At 8:36 a.m., Mitchell breaks into a rendition of "Joy to the World," in which he sings "and saints and angels sing," (the lyrics in the LDS version of the hymn) a departure from the actual lyric "and heaven and angels sing."
At 8:41, he stops and pauses for about a minute. It appears as though he is conferring with his attorney.
At 8:42, the judge enters the courtroom. Mitchell again sings "Come, Come, Emmanuel," though he pauses for a moment as the judge calls for the jury.
At 8:44, the jury walks into the courtroom.
Judge: Good morning again ladies and gentlemen of the jury. We appreciate you and your work. Mr. Mitchell you have a constitutional right to be present unless you waive that right by continuing to sing â¦ (he continues to sing) we'll ask that he be taken into the room where he can see and hear the proceedings. ... You may bring in your witness.
Robert Steele: We call Tim Mitchell.
Judge: Come over in front of the clerk of court and be sworn please.
[Tim Mitchell is sworn in.]
Mitchell: Tim Mitchell. (Then spells it)
Steele: Mr. Mitchell what is your relationship to Brian David Mitchell?
Mitchell: I'm his younger brother.
Steele: What is the age difference between you and Brian?
Mitchell: I'm 50 and I think he is about six or seven years older.
Steele: What is your occupation?
Mitchell: I'm a counselor.
Steele: Where do you work?
Mitchell: At Bear River Mental Health.
Steele: What kinds of things do you do there?
Mitchell: I do mental health counseling basically.
Steele: What do you remember about your brother when you were young? ... What kind of kid do you remember him being?
Mitchell: Like, I'm not sure. Just kind of memories of my childhood with Brian?
Steele: In general, how would you describe him in a couple six words or a sentence?
Mitchell: Well. He was ... He was a creative person. He always seemed to have some interesting project going on. Sometimes he and I were probably close because he was my big brother and I looked up to him.
Steele: What kinds of things did you do together?
Mitchell: Well, he was older than me, but he would sometimes have some creative project going on and i would kind of tag along.
Steele: What are some of those projects?
Mitchell: He ... I had some memories of him doing different things. He used to build model airplanes. He used to make rockets with ... these rockets that you shoot up in the air and parachute comes out. He built a model airplane. He would do different things like, one time he built ... tried to build a roller-coaster in the backyard. Got all this wood out of the shed. Was building this platform with a wagon that would go down. He tried to build a parachute and wanted to jump off the neighbors garage with his parachute.
Steele: Did he try that?
Mitchell: I remember he built the parachute and I can't remember if he actually jumped off the roof. I think he got scared when he got up there that maybe he'd break his legs or something. One time he built a ... hot air balloon. It was made out of fabric and he filled it up with hot air and it went up in the air and it had a canister under it with fire in it. It went up on the roof and started the roof on fire. We were throwing snowballs at it to get it out. He just always seemed to have some creative thing he was wanting to do.
Steele: And sometimes he included you.
Steele: Is it hard for you to be here today?
Mitchell: It's emotionally upsetting.
Steele: Is there something about a nudist colony?
Mitchell: I remember he had these boards set up in the backyard one time and had a sheet out there: a nudist colony. And my sister said Brian was out there sunbathing without any clothes on.
[Steele asks question. Inaudible.]
Mitchell: As he got to be more in his teenage years, there would be upsetting situations that would come up. I just remember that he kind of at times became ... he would be doing one of his projects and him and my mom, there would be some sort of a conflict. He'd get agitated and upset. I don't remember all the particulars but there were times my mom would call my dad and he would come home. I remember one upsetting event where he got a whooping in the bathroom. My dad whipped him with a belt and he was hollering out.
Steele: What kinds of things would he do during these conflicts?
Mitchell: Well. I think when he got his mind made up to do some project he wanted to do he would be going about that sometimes working all day long. Sometimes my mom would come out and I don't know what caused the conflict ... one time he built a pulley system in the backyard where you could go from one end to the other on a tree. But somehow it would come into a conflict. He was sometimes teasing, teasing me or my sister Laurie. And it kind of escalated somehow. So those are the kind of things that would happen. I remember one time my grandmother came over for a birthday party and me and my friends were playing down the street. Brian came running down and my dad came after him and I don't know what he had done, said something that upset my mom or my grandma. My dad came back up the street huffing and puffing because he couldn't catch Brian.
Steele: You say a conflict between Brian and your mother. What did that look like? Yelling? Pushing?
Mitchell: I don't remember specially. She used to make this comment that Brian is on the production or something like that. She was getting agitated ... there were times I remember she would be so frustrated with him. I remember there were times my dad would take him from the house to get him from away from my mom. And he would drop him off downtown, and Brian would have to walk back. He would come back and say that was fun.
Steele: Being downtown was fun, but not having a fight with your mom?
Mitchell: Right. That he'd get some consequence,and he'd be, you know.
Steele: You know how he felt about the conflict that he was a part of?
Mitchell: I'm sure there were times that he felt sad, unhappy about it.
Steele: Do you know if he did?
Mitchell: I remember at times his crying,being upset and remorseful.
Steele: Did he say anything to you at those times?
Mitchell: Um, I don't remember particular things. That was a long time ago. ... I remember when I was very small, he would tease me, and I would kind of tease him. One time when I was 5 years old, he ran across room and jumped on me and broke my collarbone.
Steele: How did that get started?
Mitchell: We'd be playing together and, uh, he, um, you know, it would start out as teasing and play and somehow it'd get kind of out of hand. But I remember he was very sad and felt very bad about it. It was kind of an accidental thing.
Steele: What kind of things did he tease about?
Mitchell: Well, I remember this one game, it was called the animal game. So he said, 'You can turn me into any kind of animal you want.' I said, 'OK, I'll turn you into a tiger and he'd run around the room growling like he was a tiger and he'd bite me and I got hurt. So I turned him into the monkey and he'd jump around and he'd jump on me. Half the time it was fun, but then ... I was a little guy, so I'd get hurt.
Steele: In his later teen years, did he have a girlfriend that you knew about?
Mitchell: Yes. He had a girlfriend named Karen Kryzinsky.
Steele: Did you see them together?
Mitchell: Hmm hmm.
Mitchell: Well, Karen lived at our house for awhile after she got pregnant and later on they ended up getting married. Karen came with us on a trip to California one time when she was pregnant.
Steele: How old were they when she moved into the house?
Mitchell: I'm guessing he was 17 18. She was 16, 17, something like that.
Steele: What kind of relationship did they have that you observed?
Mitchell: Well, I remember that Karen seemed to be, you know, a nice person and you know they loved each other. I think that I kind of, somehow remember that she wasn't the kind of person he would have picked out to get married to, but, you know, she got pregnant, so they got together and so they, I think, they'd been involved with partying and drinking and that kind of continued on. It eventually led to them getting divorced and separated.
Steele: Drinking and things like that? What other things like that?
Mitchell: All I know is that I remember him saying that, you know, there was drinking going on. I don't remember the extent of it.
Steele: You said he wouldn't have picked her out, you didn't think, to marry. Why? What about her was not somebody he would choose to marry?
Mitchell: Well, I think those kind of comments were made later on when they were separated and getting divorced. I remember him saying something about the fact that she wasn't a good mother, was possibly neglectful of the kids, you know. I remember there was one episode where we, my mom and I, went over to their house. They lived over on the west side of town, maybe out in Murray someplace, and the door was closed, and their little boy, Travis, was in there crying on the floor and nobody was there. So we climbed through the window and he had a messy diaper and was kind of dirty and the house was a mess. So we stayed there and kind of stayed there and took care of him. ... An hour and half later, Karen showed up and basically left a little kid there alone. When he took the kids from her, he probably thought ... she wasn't a good mother.
Steele: Brian wasn't there either at that time?
Mitchell: He was at work. He was working construction at that time with his friend Marlon.
Steele: You mentioned divorce. Do you know when they got divorced?
Mitchell: I can't remember the particulars. Travis and Angela were little children at the time. Karen and Brian got divorced and then Karen got with a guy named Joe and they would come and take the kids for visits. I think at one point, Brian, Travis and Angela were living there at the house, and it was kind of off and on.
Steele: Were you around when he left?
Mitchell: Well, I wasn't, you know, I didn't see him leave or anything, but I was aware of him leaving.
Steele: Did you have any interaction with him throughout that period, letters or calls?
Mitchell: I think best I remember, he, uh, there was some sort of a court thing coming up related to Karen and Joe trying to get the kids back from Brian and, um, he, uh, just one day was just gone. And I guess he packed up, got on a bus and went back east.
Steele: Did you ever go to see him?
Mitchell: Yes. I think at some point, he started communicating with may mom and he lived in New York for awhile, then he ended up in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He was living back there, working at an automobile dealership or repair place. I'm not sure what he was doing. I think it was sometime around 1978 during the summer my mom and dad were separated. And, uh, my mom had gone back there, back east to visit Brian, I think. And, uh, she'd driven back there. And my dad, uh, wanted to go back and visit my mom and try and get her to come back to him or something. So, uh, my dad had this car and he and I drove back there and spent a couple of days at my brother's house or his apartment in New Hampshire.
Steele: What did you notice that was going on?
Mitchell: Uh, he lived there in an apartment with Travis and Angela. He was a single father. He had a girlfriend named Alison that spent time with him and I don't think she lived there, but they were involved with each other.
Steele: Did the kids appear to be cared for?
Mitchell: Yeah. You know, it probably wasn't the very best of places, but he seemed to be taking care of them and loved them.
Steele: Were there some bad things going on?
Mitchell: Well, you know, he was, he smoked, drank. My dad and him and Alison, I think it was Alison, went out to a place and had some beers and uh, you know. It, uh, then we came back and so I didn't get the impression that he was drinking real excessively but it seemed like that was a part of his lifestyle at that time. But he was working at a job as I recall, so that was a positive.
Steele: Were there any drugs?
Mitchell: I believe he smoked marijuana.
Steele: At some time did he return to Salt Lake?
Mitchell: Yes. I can't remember exactly when that was. We came back from the East and I was going through a time in my life when I drifted away from the LDS church a bit. Then it was after I got out of high school. So it was probably the next year after that. I moved away from home for a time. Then I came back. It was probably when I was 19 years old. I was going to church and reading the Book of Mormon and trying to make a change in my life. Then he came back. It probably would have been sometime in that year when I was 19. That would have been in '79. Right around there.
Steele: What was he like when he came back?
Mitchell: He had a bit of a beard, I remember. He was still smoking. But I think he was kind I don't know exactly why he came back. But he moved back to our house.
Steele: Did you have an experience together at some point after he came back?
Mitchell: I had ... you know ... I'm sure we had time that we spent together.
Steele: Did you ever go to southern Utah together?
Mitchell: Yeah. It's kind of a spiritual conversion experience, which is that, I think he was nervous about staying there at the house. Because he was worried maybe Karen would come by and want to take the kids away. So he was looking at possibly moving to somewhere else. I don't know exactly how we found out about this some sort of a ranch or commune type thing in southern Utah. But he had an interest in driving down there and checking it out. We decided to make it a little camp out. We drove down. I think it was in Escalante. We spent a night at my Aunt Mildred's house and then we found this place in Escalante the next day. There was nobody there. The people that ran the place weren't there. There were some buildings being constructed and stuff. We just hung out there and built a campfire. We were sitting around the fire in the evening. On the way down there I was kind of telling him about my conversion experience of reading the Book of Mormon and trying to change my life and be active in the church again. Basically sharing my faith and testimony with him. We were kind of arguing. He was telling me about his philosophy of life. He was at that time kind of atheistic. I don't know what he believed in but he didn't believe in the church. As we were sitting around the campfire I kind of shared in a heartfelt way that it was something I really believed in. He became a little bit tearful and said 'I think what you're saying is true' and 'I kind of lost my way.' So he, I remember he had a pack of cigarettes and he tossed them in fire and said he wanted to change his life too. We ended up driving back to Salt Lake. At that time he started going to church. I remember he went in and talked to the bishop and he was kind of sick for a couple of weeks. He was coughing up all this gunck because he quit cold turkey. I think he shaved off his beard and started looking more conservative. I remember him coming to church. He and I would go to different church talks and so forth. For a while there he was kind of like fasting and praying. He wasn't able to partake of the sacrament for some time. I said, 'well, when I talked to the bishop he let me partake of the sacrament still.' He said 'my sins were a lot worse than yours.' I don't know the particulars, but he seemed to really show a heartfelt conversion at that time. Seemed to want to be a better person in his life.
Steele: What did you do shortly after this?
Mitchell: Well ...
Steele: Did you go on a mission shortly after this?
Mitchell: I think it was probably several months after that, six or seven (months). I'm not sure how long. I ended up going on an LDS Church mission.
Steele: When you came back what were his circumstances?
Mitchell: He was writing to me while I was on my mission. We wrote some letters back and forth. At one point my mom sent me a letter that said she was worried about him. He said he met some lady.
[Prosecution interjects something inaudible.]
Steele: Let's go back and tell us what he told you.
Mitchell: He met this lady named Debbie and my family was kind of concerned about it because he wasn't having any contact with the family and it had kind of changed in his personality. He was acting strange and different kind of paranoid of everybody. My brother Kevin and I went over to the house and met him. And said 'why aren't you spending time with the family?' And he went on and on about mom and how she was not supportive of his and Debbie's relationship. He did seem to act a bit of paranoia toward the family. I guess he had called back and Kevin was talking to him on the phone and then he started having a little bit of contact with the family after that. But then he stopped having contact with the family again. I think I went over there and tried to visit him a couple of times over there at that house with Debbie, I think it was in Sugarhouse. He wouldn't have much to do with me. He was acting kind of different. After that I ended up going away to college and getting married. And things kind of progressively worsened with Debbie and he ended up divorcing her.
Steele: When you next had contact with him what were his circumstances then?
Mitchell: Well, let's see ...
Steele: Did he remarry?
Mitchell: Yeah. I can't remember how many years after that he married Wanda.
Steele: Did you observe them together and spend time with them?
Mitchell: Yes. From time to time we'd have a family get together and he and Wanda. I remember him telling me that he and Wanda had met and that he'd had to go through a lot of counseling. He had a lot of emotional problems. He had gone through a lot of counseling. I had the impression he met Wanda through this counseling. Maybe some kind of group therapy. I'm not sure. ... so yeah, he and Wanda were together. I remember one time we went on a family camp out up in the mountains and he and Wanda were there and they brought a canoe. They seemed to get along OK.
Steele: What was your brother like at that time?
Mitchell: At that time seemed like he'd kind of come back to the way he was before seemed more emotionally stable at that time. Got a job working at OC tanner, seemed to communicate with family, he was more himself was my observation.
Steele: Was he drinking and smoking?
Steele: Involved in church?
Mitchell: Yeah, he was. He and Wanda I think got married. I am trying to remember. I vaguely remember there being some sort of a marriage ceremony, possibly at my mother's apartment. Then they ended up eventually going to the Jordan River Temple and getting sealed over there.
Steele: What twas their relationship like?
Mitchell: They seemed to be loving and happy together.
Steele: How did they treat each other?
Mitchell: From my observation they treated each other kindly, nice.
Steele: How did Wanda seem? What kind of person was she at that time?
Mitchell: She seemed to always have a smile on her face. She had this kind of funny laughter. I was like 'whoa'... she seemed to be a little bit of a slightly nervous disposition. Seemed like there was something a little different about her.
Steele: Did you have interaction with them as time went by in their marriage? Were you around?
Mitchell: You know I was off going to college and I was working out of town during the summers, so it was kinda sporadic at that time. I know that Travis and Angie had been adopted by this Mandaville family up in Heber ... And one day Travis kinda showed up at my mom's house he was 16, or 17. Then Travis ended up having some visit with Brian, and Travis ended up moving over there with Brian and Wanda and Wanda's sister LouRee. Travis was not going to school, Brian was having some trouble getting Travis to be motivated. Then junior or senior year, Travis was flunking out of school, staying home and reading books all day. I was trying to give (Brian) ideas on what might help.
Steele: He was seeking help?
Mitchell: Yeah. He was having trouble getting Travis motivated to go to school.
Steele: Did there come a time that, within your knowledge, that they had less contact with you and your family?
Mitchell: Well, it was probably about 15 years ago â¦ uhh. Because I remember that because that was before we moved to our house, we used to live in an apartment. I got this letter from him in the mail, and evidently my mom told me that she had talked to him, and had criticized him for his kids being adopted, and that he'd gotten really upset. And, uh, so he sent me this letter and in this letter, he was just kind of going off, saying 'I'm in charge of my family.' And I remember there was one word in the letter, 'and by thunder, so on and so on and so on' and I remember having this distinct thought in my mind, what on earth is going on with him? He's sounding very angry and upset, and it was weird, this letter that I got. Anyway, from that time onward, things started to deteriorate, again, as far as him being part of the family and interacting and stuff.
Steele: If he did have an interaction, what was one of the next interactions?
Mitchell: We weren't living in Salt Lake at that time, we were living up in Logan. I don't remember, a couple things stick out in my mind. I went to a Christmas or holiday get together, and he came up and he hugged me and he kissed me. And you know, I remember a distinct impression, he's acting different, There's something different about him. My interpretation was that he was trying to be perfectly righteous, trying to do everything by the Bible, he was trying to ...there was something in the Bible that had governed this. Then uh, all of the sudden, we heard he doesn't have his job any more, he's moved up to Idaho and he's living in a trailer up there. We hadn't heard from him in quite some time. One day we were in Logan and I was at a grocery store, and I looked over and there and he was in this grocery store. I says, 'hey Brian.' And I was like, 'that's weird, what's he doing here?' It wasn't I think the same day â¦ Maybe a few weeks later, he showed up at the house, him and Wanda. They were wearing hiking shoes and clothing and I think maybe they had a backpack or something on. He said that they'd been out wandering around the country, and basically they were homeless. And he still had short hair at this time. Still looked and dressed like anybody else would, and he said that they had been back to Virginia and back to various places back east and basically all over the country. I says, 'what are you doing going around?' He said Wanda had a special spiritual gift for music. They'd go to churches and ask if she could do an organ recital. He said, I'm on a ministry to the homeless. And you know ...
Steele: Did he explain that?
Mitchell: He felt that he had a calling from God to serve the homeless, something like that. I didn't talk about the lymphology thing, that was a separate story. I said 'Brian, if you want to go on a mission, why don't you just put in your papers? You could go on a church humanitarian mission.' I didn't realize he'd totally changed in his focus toward the church. He said something from the Bible. Well, even though they were not with the church, something he had said had some certain justification for it. I said 'I think you're going off on the wrong way here, I think your drifting away from the church. I think you've been deceived by a false spirit...' And all of the sudden Wanda said, [Tim hissing as he quotes] 'I have a bad feeling here. I think there's a bad presence in this home.' He (Brian) says [hissing again] 'Yes, I do too.' Both of them jumped up, walked right out the front door, into the night. That was probably in, uh, 12-13 years ago. Then he'd be gone for sometimes eight months, or a year at a time, then he'd show up at my mom's house, then they'd stay there for awhile then they'd be gone again. Then I found out
Steele: Let me go back and ask you a couple of questions. In the grocery store, when you said, 'Hey, Brian,' what was his response?
Mitchell: He was just friendly. 'Hi, Tim. How ya doing?' I said, 'What are you doing here?' ... He was a little bit reserved, a little bit cautious toward me. But I said, 'I'm glad to see you.' I hadn't heard from him in eight months or a year. I had heard he went to Idaho and then around the country. It was kind of a surprise to see him. Looking back I wonder if he had come there on purpose to meet with me.
Steele: At another time, did he came by to talk about lymphology?
Mitchell: That probably would have been a year or two before that. That was when he was still living in Salt Lake. He had met this guy down in Provo and this guy had talked to him about this concept of medicine.
Steele: He's telling you this?
Mitchell: Yeah. We were at the kitchen table. My wife was in a car accident and hurt her neck. He was giving her a lymphology treatment. He said this West guy has a revolutionary treatment that can heal all manner of illness. I thought this is strange. And he started talking about how there are corrupt people who were making it so this treatment cannot be given. There was some sort of a conspiracy, some sort of corruption that kept people from getting that treatment. I said, 'Brian, that's just massage. Everybody knows that massage makes you feel better but it's not some great discovery.' Looking back now, I'm thinking the way he was thinking about that was odd. It was, you know. There was a little bit of paranoia going on at that time.
Steele: Just out of curiosity, did it look like normal massage?
Mitchell: It looked different. He'd go like this and you know how there are blood vessels and lymphatic tissue? ... As he explained it to me, you have to get that lymphatic tissue draining and somehow that heals the tissue and it heals the body because you're getting that system working properly.
Steele: The conspiracy, was it the AMA and the pharmaceutical companies?
Mitchell: I don't remember the particulars but I remember he said that this was a revolutionary medical treatment and there were people who had purposefully thwarted this. I think he said something about Ezra Taft Benson. There was possibly some linkage with the church, but I can't remember.
Steele: Did it help your wife more than massage might have?
Mitchell: No (laughs). I'm not a believer in lymphology.
Steele: Just before the kidnapping or leading up to it, was there an interaction that you had with him?
Mitchell: There was periodic interaction. I'm guessing it was probably five years before the kidnapping. I'm not sure on the time. I went to my mom's house and he had ... he was still coming to the house periodically. One day I came in and my kids used to tease and joke about this, especially my son John. I said, 'Hey, Brian, how you doing?' and he said my name is not Brian any longer. It is Daveed. And Wanda's name is Elladah. He gave me the impression that he had received some of revelation, kind of like Abraham. ... So he wanted me to call him this new name, this Daveed name. I just kept calling him Brian. The next time I was there, I said, 'Hey, Brian,' and he said, 'Tim, I've told you my name is Daveed.' I think he's just getting weirder and weirder. I said, 'I'm not going to call you Daveed because I don't believe that. I think you're going off the wrong way.' He got Wanda and left the house. They would try to avoid me whenever I was there. I sent him a letter there and I was thinking this is really looking like mental illness. I sent him some letters encouraging him to get some help. My mom said, 'Brian read your letter.'
Mitchell: Anyway, I sent him a letter saying I was worried he was becoming increasingly emotionally disturbed.
Steele: Did you have an interaction closer to the time of the kidnapping?
Mitchell: I didn't have direct interaction with him. At the actual time of the kidnapping we went to Salt Lake. I was taking my kids on a trip to Disneyland. We stopped by my mom's house and my mom was upset because there had been a big blowout. She said, 'Can I come to California with you?' And that's when the kidnapping occurred. We heard about it on the news on the way back from California.
Steele: Do you remember being interviewed by an expert, a forensic expert, about this case?
Steele: Do you remember who that was?
Mitchell: Dr. Welner.
Steele: How did that interaction go?
Mitchell: Well, I basically told him the same stuff I've been telling you, pretty much.
Steele: What was your interaction with him? Did you give him some feedback? Did he give you some?
Mitchell: I basically shared with him that, you know, I work in mental health and in my observation, Brian exhibited some symptoms in our teenage years that I would look upon now as bipolar. These agitated states. Different mood swings and stuff.
Steele: Let me re-ask this. How did you feel ... did you feel you were being listened to?
Mitchell: Yes. The only thing that I sensed was that he was kind of asking me questions based on what he believed. There were times when he was interpreting what I was saying through what he believed. I basically disagreed with the direction he was going. But there's a lot about Brian that I don't know and a lot I don't understand. I just have my impression but it's based on what I observed. So I could be wrong.
Steele: Your honor, may I have a moment.
Steele: That's all I have your honor.
Judge: Thank you, Mr. Steele. Ms. Cook, you may cross examine.
Cook: Good morning, Mr. Mitchell. ... Mr. Mitchell in your practice, is it standard practice or appropriate for a professional to do evaluations on family members?
Cook: And as you stated, there's a lot you don't know or understand about your brother. Do you recall that?
Cook: Do you know how many different interviews Dr. Wellner did in this case?
Mitchell: I heard he got paid 500,000 thousand. So I'm sure he did a number of interviews.
Cook: Are you aware of the number of hours he spent in this case.
Mitchell: He told me he had interviewed a lot of people but I don't know.
Cook: And Mr. Mitchell, did you ever see or interact with your brother during the time period of June 5, 2002, and March 12, 2003?
Mitchell: You mean from the time of the kidnapping onward?
Cook: I want to talk to you about the visit with your brother back east. Your testimony was that it occurred about 1978?
Mitchell: I think it would have been that summer or maybe the summer of 1977.
Cook: Somewhere in there. And that visit lasted approximately two days?
Mitchell: I believe we were there for two or three days.
Cook: Were there any other visits while Brian was back east?
Judge: I assume you mean by him.
Cook: That was the only visit you had with your brother back east?
Cook: Thank you, your honor. .. And the time came back from college and Brian was already married to Wanda, did you spend much time in their home?
Mitchell: No. ... All my interactions with Brian would have been at my mom's house or camping out.
Cook: Were there many interactions with Brian at that time?
Mitchell: I don't know that there were tons. The family gets together two or three times a year.
Cook: And you were aware that some of Wanda's children were staying with them?
Mitchell: I met LouRee and remember her.
Cook: And that's Wanda's daughter?
Cook: The letter Brian sent to you ... Did he ever apologize for what had happened to Travis and Angela?
Mitchell: I don't remember if he did or not. I don't know if that was part of the letter.
Cook: Did he ever express any remorse for what they had gone through?
Mitchell: I remember him saying something that he didn't want them to be with my mom, and it felt at the time that it would be better for them to be with a new family, and he felt that would be best for them.
Cook: Did he say that in terms of an apology, or justifying his decision?
Mitchell: I don't remember circumstances of how that came up, and I don't remember if he ever apologized.
Cook: The night that he came to stay with you after you saw him in the store, you testified he said he had been called on a special mission to the homeless?
Mitchell: 'Ministry to homeless' I think were the words that he used.
Cook: Did he ever tell you what the ministry was?
Mitchell: No. I didn't know. I think there may have been something to do with the lymphology thing as well.
Cook: He may have been taking lymphology to the homeless?
Cook: Did he talk about any type of service, anything he was doing to assist the homeless?
Mitchell: I don't remember the particulars of what he was actually doing with the homeless.
I do remember one other odd thing. He said that he and Wanda had been living on fruit.
Cook: They'd been eating a fruit diet?
Mitchell: They ate nothing but fruit for nine months and he was feeling healthier.
Cook: Did that have any resemblance to the healthy diet your parents emphasized when you were younger?
Mitchell: It could have been. We were raised thinking you should eat fruits and vegetables.
Cook: Good advice, right?
Mitchell: Yeah. It seemed he was being a little extreme on it...
Cook: You mentioned that he came to your home and talked to you about lymphology.
Mitchell: The lymphology talking was at his mother's house.
Cook: He was giving a massage to your wife, right? As he able to explain the mechanics behind what he was doing?
Mitchell: He explained to me...Basically, there's these lymph vessels in the body, and you somehow have to get the lymph system working, somehow when he did these lymph ... movements it got the system working â¦ different from massage, kind of more this stroking kind of motion.
Cook: Sounds like while he's doing it, he's able to explain it to you in a way that makes sense and you're able to come and repeat it to us years later.
Mitchell: Sure ...
Cook: I want to talk to you about an experience in southern Utah. You describe "heartfelt",explain that. ... You're not taking that conversion explanation as an indication of mental illness.
Mitchell: No not at that time.
Cook: In fact when Brian returned and he talked to his bishop, it was your interpretation he was putting a lot of energy to get back into church.
Cook: But not unusual for [new converts and reconverts]?
Cook: When you were engaging in the LDS church, you put a lot of energy into that yourself, correct?
Cook: Were members of the family not accepting of Debbie?
Mitchell: Yes. My mother said she didn't she felt like she wasn't the best for [Brian].
Cook: You're aware you also had a sister who confronted Brian about the marriage?
Mitchell: No. (Not aware).
Cook: Other members of the family expressed this wasn't the best decision for Brian.
Cook: In terms of newly married couples, it's not unusual there should be some distance between new in-laws and the spouse?
Cook: Mr. Mitchell, Did you ever express your opinion that Brian may have been using his religious beliefs to justify his behavior.
[Judge allows the defense to re-direct]
Steele: You had a limited nature of contact with your brother in later years ... Did you see he and Wanda dressed in robes?
Steele: Did you receive a copy of his book?
Steele: He didn't give you copy of that?
Steele: Did he ever talk to you about that?
Steele: He and Wanda, what was their interaction like to the extent that you saw?
Mitchell: Um, Wanda and he would be sitting on a couch, and when I would come in, they would leave.
Steele: What was their interaction between the two of them?
Mitchell: I didn't see a lot of their interaction because when I would come, they would leave.
Steele: In earlier years they appeared to be a loving couple?
Judge: You may step down. You may stay or go as you please â¦ the defense call next witness.
Steele: Kristian Erickson.
Judge: Come forward and be sworn in please, right in front of the clerk of court.
Erickson: Kristian Erickson. [Spells it.]
Steele: Pastor, where do you, what church are you the leader of?
Erickson: I serve at Christian Lutheran church and a school in Murray for about 14 years.
Steele: How long in Utah?
Erickson: 14 years.
Steele: Do you know who Brian David Mitchell is?
Steele: Have you ever met him?
Erickson: Yes, I did.
Steele: Under what circumstances did you meet him?
Erickson: Um, my congregation operates at an elementary school. It was between semesters that I was asked to see if I could not allow him and his wife to come out in our parking lot for a short time. It was under those circumstances that I met him.
Steele: Did he go to you, or did you come to him?
Erickson: A gentleman from a local ward stopped by and said he had been helping him out, but there were some complaints from the neighbors, they wanted him to move along. He asked us if we wouldn't mind hosting him. So i agreed to. He didn't approach us, it was another gentleman who asked us.
Steele: Did you go find him?
Erickson: Someone directed him over to where we were.
Steele: Did you see him or did you meet him in church itself?
Erickson: I met him after he had moved to the parking lot. I went over to where the hand-drawn cart was.
Steele: Describe that for us, the hand-drawn cart.
Erickson: It was very simple, made of wood. It had some kind of ... it was designed so that you could pull it along with you on wheels. It was like a large wagon.
Steele: Do you recognize what's in that picture?
Erickson: That could very well be what they had. It's similar to that.
[Steele submits exhibit.]
Judge: X is received into evidence.
Steele: So that's essentially what you described?
Steele: Do you know why they had come to need your help?
Erickson: They needed to rest for a while.
Steele: And they came and set up where?
Erickson: On the back side of our parking lot. It was a little ways from 5600 south, the main road that goes by our church.
Steele: How long were they there?
Erickson: I was actually chatting with some of my colleagues and I was unsure if it was just for one day or overnight. I do believe they stayed overnight one evening and they were gone the next day.
Steele: And what happened? Why were they gone?
Erickson: We were receiving phone call complaints form people in the neighborhood that they didn't want them there.
Steele: Did they tell you why?
Erickson: I didn't take the phone calls, it was my secretary.
Judge: It is hearsay.
Steele: ... Did you have conversations with Mr. Mitchell?
Steele: What did he tell you his name was?
Steele: And how was he dressed?
Erickson: It was a robe. Not unsimilar to the robes I wear on Sunday mornings. It was very plain. It was an off-white kind of color. Something like a traditional Sunday School-type picture of Jesus. Long hair. Long beard.
Steele: Did he tell you why they needed help?
Erickson: He indicated to me they had experienced and accident that injured his wife and they were looking for a place to stay so she could recover.
Steele: Did he describe that accident?
Erickson: If I remember right, and I think this is accurate, he said that their handcart had rolled over her and possibly injured her ribs.
Steele: How did she appear to you?
Erickson: She didn't look in great pain, but she acknowledged she was hurt.
Steele: How was she moving about?
Steele: Did he tell you anything else?
Erickson: I remember very little from the conversation. My concern at that point was to simply see if we could help them. They told me his name was Immanuel. I didn't push it any further if that was his given name. ... I didn't know his real name at that time.
[Steele asks question, muffled.]
Erickson: The name that he had given to me was a name that in the Bible was given to God. Or a name that Jesus refers to. I wondered about mental stability, about him possibly being delusional. This is just knowing when people do try to proffer them as a religious figure of this kind, that did concern me a little bit that perhaps he was possibly thinking he had some kind of diving nature. So I thought maybe delusional.
Steele: Was there any further indication or was that the end of your concern?
Erickson: That was the end of it. He as very mild-mannered. I had no sense that he was a threat to anyone or anything. So I remember him being a pleasant individual.
Steele: So you didn't feel a need to pursue that any further?
Steele: What was the interaction between he and his wife?
Erickson: I don't know if I observed a lot of interaction. He just seemed concerned.
Steele: The next day, what did you do?
Erickson: I told them they did need to leave. I was sorry for that. We agreed we would get them to the shelter downtown. Pulling the cart for that many miles was a bit much. So I agreed to put most of the contents in the cart in my minivan and drive his wife downtown. And he would take the cart himself. So that's what we did.
Steele: Did you see him arrive downtown?
Steele: If I may have a minute, your honor.
Judge: You may.
Steele: That's all I have.
Judge: Thank you, Mr. Steele. Mr. Backman, you may cross examine.
Backman: Good morning.
Erickson: Good morning.
Backman: You mentioned when you met the defendant. Did you introduce yourself in any way?
Erickson: I told him I was the pastor of the congregation there.
Backman: Did you identify which church that was?
Erickson: By name?
Erickson: I don't remember if I did that.
Backman: This man, you mentioned he was dressed kind of like a Biblical figure. ... and that's a yes?
Erickson: Yes. I'm sorry.
Backman: So I would imagine when you introduced yourself to him he must have been pretty excited to talk about your religion.
Backman: Did the defendant talk to you about religion?
Backman: Did he argue with you about yours?
Backman: You mention that you had some concerns about his mental well-being. That was based on just a couple of things, wasn't it? His name and his appearance?
Backman: Nothing else?
Backman: You're aware that some other people go by the name Immanuel, correct?
Erickson: I understand it can be given as a name.
Backman: There's an Immanuel Kant, who is a philosopher.
Erickson: Yes. 18th century, I believe.
Backman: And you mentioned the appearance this man had. There are religions were people dress in robes.
Erickson: Yes. I dress in robes on Sunday mornings.
Backman: And there are people who like to grow their hair and beards out.
Backman: Hippies, for example.
Backman: And the defendant, he never told you he was Jesus, did he? He just gave you the name Immanuel. He never said he was God?
Backman: There are quite a few people who are Hispanic who have the name Jesus.
Backman: That's quite a common name in Latin America, Jesus.
Erickson: That is correct.
Backman: Did the defendant ever say he was ministering to the homeless?
Erickson: I do not recall. I don't think he ever said that to me.
Backman: You have had incidents where you have interacted with people and actively sought out help for mental illness?
Erickson: I have.
Backman: But you did not in this case?
Erickson: I did not.
Backman: In fact, it didn't cross your mind at the time, did it?
Erickson: I'm not going to say what came across my mind at the time. I know what actions I took.
Backman: I have no futher questions.
Steele: Did you attempt to have a religious conversation with him?
Erickson: Again, it's been a lot of years ago. It's possible I asked a question or two, but I didn't pursue anything of a theological nature.
Steele: What did his main concern seem to be to you?
Erickson: Main concern? His main concern seemed to be that they had a place for his wife to recover for a while.
Steele: That's all I have, your honor.
Judge: Anything else, Mr. Backman? You may step down, Pastor Erickson. I assume this witness may be exused. ... We'll take our first break.
Judge: Please get the jury. You may call your next witness Mr. Douglas. Come forward and be sworn please right up here in front of the clerk of court. Just right here.
[Witness is sworn in.]
McKnight: Betty Patricia McKnight.
Judge: You need to speak into the mic, not to the side of it.
Parker Douglas: Hi Mrs. McKnight. Do you know Wanda Barzee and Brian Mitchell?
Douglas: When did you come to meet them first?
McKnight: It was in 1995, probably around March until September or October, about six months or seven months.
Douglas: How did you come to meet them?
McKnight: We were living in a little town up in northern Idaho called Kooskia. They were in the area, and it was through our church that we met them.
Douglas: Could you describe Kooskia?
McKnight: Kooskia is a small area. It's over the Lolo Pass from Montana and it's near Lewiston, Idaho ... Lewiston, Idaho is the bigger city. Our little town is about 600 people, but all the people in the hills around that town have been about 10,000 people.
Douglas: What church did you belong to?
McKnight: That was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Douglas: Could you describe the nature of the church community in Kooskia?
McKnight: It was very close. There were a lot of people moving in at that particular time that were members of the church. We had a very strong active church, very talented people, a lot of them.
Douglas: When you met them in '95 ... How did you meet them?
McKnight: They must've come to the ward. I don't recall exactly. It was at the ward that we met them. Wanda was very talented she was an organist she played for the ward for a period of time. My husband was in the bishopric at that time. He was their home teacher. They were living at an area we call The Farm. He'd been there a couple of times, and then he went the third time, and they said they weren't happy there.
Douglas: When you say he, who do you mean, your husband?
McKnight: My husband was home teaching them. So he went there to home teach them. We had about 25 acres, so my husband checked with the bishop to see if it would be OK for them to move onto our property. We had kind of an old logging site. So they did, they ended up moving over to our property.
Douglas: When you say 'move,' what did they live in before?
McKnight: They had a truck with a fifth wheel on it. They moved that onto our property at the logging site, there was water hook-up, they could hook up there.
Douglas: They could hook up to your water and power?
McKnight: It was separate from what our home was.
Douglas: Where had they been previously? Describe The Farm.
McKnight: The Farm was place that was probably about 25-30 acres. There were about eight families living there. They tried to live there as a 'commune' would be the best word to describe it. They tried to do everything in common, like they'd raise a garden and they had cows that they would get their milk from, and chickens and I guess they were building buildings together. To live there, you had to give up everything you had. If you had $20,000 or $30,000, you had to give that to the farm.
Douglas: You and your husband were not part of the farm?
Douglas: Were there people at the farm who
McKnight: Eight families.
Douglas: Other people besides the Mitchell's who you are friends with?
McKnight: Yes there were the eight families who lived there. And the Mitchell's moved on because they didn't have enough money to buy property.
Douglas: I'm just trying to understand commune a little more. Was everybody expected to work together?
McKnight: Yeah. That was their lifestyle, was trying to do everything together at this farm to be able to (sustain) maintain themselves. They didn't have it wasn't where you have jobs to live. It was more raising your own food and building your own buildings.
Douglas: What was the relationship? If any between The Farm and the church?
McKnight: These people were members of the church so they would come to church, but the church was trying to keep tabs on them and see what would develop.
Douglas: When you say keep tabs on them, what do you mean by that?
McKnight: The bishopric. My husband was in the bishopric but they would talk about what they were doing and if it was in agreement with church policies. They just didn't want any of the doctrines to be twisted or used inappropriately.
Douglas: Could you describe their relationship? Did it work between church and commune or was there tension between the beliefs? ... Were there any worries or concerns that arose?
McKnight: What eventually happened was that several of these families did start living polygamy. We haven't been there for about 10 years so I don't know what's developed since but some were excommunicated and some of the wives that were there with their husbands, this was before polygamy, left their husbands when they did start living polygamy.
Douglas: Do you have a sense of what drew people to this commune?
McKnight: I don't. Most people that moved there were attracted to the beauty of the area. It was a woody area. It was warmer that Salt Lake. We were farther north but warmer. We'd buy 25 or 30 acres and build a house and it was wooded and some areas had meadows. We had a meadow. We had a stream. It was very appealing, very lovely. People would buy the acreage and build a home. But this little group didn't. It was partly economic, that was one reason people moved there. If they only had 15 thousand, they could put it into the farm and have a place.
Douglas: Going back to what you said about Wanda playing the organ, how often would she play?
McKnight: At one time, every week or every other week. And she played beautifully.
Douglas: What kind of pieces do you remember her playing?
McKnight: It was just beautiful. It would be on the classical side. Something that would be appropriate to prelude or postlude music. If she played a hymn, it was a hymn but embellished. People would actually come in and sit there and listen because it was done so interestingly.
Douglas: So did she acquire quite a reputation for her playing in the community?
McKnight: Everybody recognized that she was very good.
Douglas: And did you get to know her very well?
McKnight: They moved onto our property for about six or seven months. We were very busy. We have four boys and two were living with us. We were building a house. We had like a driveway into where we were, which was about 700 feet, and this camp was kind of before you got to it in a clearing. It was kind of off by itself. It wasn't like we were neighbors and seeing each other ... that often but I knew her pretty well. We talked and we didn't do a lot together but she would come up and play our piano is what happened sometimes and we would talk
Douglas: Did she play requests?
McKnight: Oh, yes. My husband had a lot of music but he was not that good. She would just sit down and play them. ... She could just play.
Douglas: When she came would Brian Mitchell be with her as well?
McKnight: They usually were together. He didn't have a job or work so they would be together but if he was busy I suppose he would stay at home.
Douglas: Did he work on the commune before the move?
McKnight: I don't know. They weren't there that long, only about three months. That was a ways away from our house and I didn't ever go over to the farm.
Douglas: Did you get the sense that Wanda loved Brian?
McKnight: Yes. Yes, I did.
Douglas: Did you get the seen that Brian loved Wanda?
McKnight: Yes, I did.
Douglas: OK. I think you mentioned ... that you had them over for meals sometimes.
McKnight: I don't recall that. No. I don't think we did.
Douglas: Do you recall them expressing their religious convictions at all?
McKnight: Brian did with my husband but not to me. And I talked to Wanda but I don't think (it was) much about religion except for one conversation I thought was kind of interesting. We'd been in Salt Lake for about a week and we came and they had stayed in our home to kind of watch it and be sure the heat was on and everything ... and she was just glowing. Just really happy. And she told me, 'Oh, Betty. Brian gave me a special blessing.' I said, 'What did he say?' 'Oh, it was just wonderful. He told me that I was one of the chosen people and that when the Lord came back, I was going to be playing the organ for him.' And she with all her heart in my estimation wanted to please the Lord in every way and be accepted. So I felt kind of think maybe Brian manipulated her that way by promising her through blessings these things.
Douglas: When you say manipulated, had you seen him do that before? What made you have that reaction when someone was expressing happiness?
McKnight: Other times she would say Brian had blessed her. A couple of times after that, it just seemed like such an unusual blessing. I didn't know why he would bless her that way except after things had developed the way they had. That was his control over her.
Douglas: So I just want to get this straight. Was this something you thought at the time?
McKnight: Not so much at the time but since. I think that was his hold on her.
Douglas: I'm just trying to get the distinction here. At the time you didn't think it was insincere?
McKnight: I thought it was an unusual blessing to promise her those things, yes. I guess a husband has a right to do that but I don't think my husband would ever give me a blessing telling me the things he told her. It just seemed like a lot. ... And her reaction was why I thought he had sway over her.
Douglas: She was very happy?
McKnight: More than happy. ... And she said, "and it happened in your living room!"
Douglas: Did they do a good job taking care of your house?
McKnight: Oh, yes. They were very clean. When we came back everything was in order, very nice. Can I go on?
Douglas: You can go on.
McKnight: Well, this is kind of a side. They had the fifth wheel and it was not very big. You'd walk in and to the right was this kitchen area and then you're into this little seating area and over the truck bed was a queen size bed. And it was always lovely when you went in. Everything picked up. Never dirty dishes in the sink, and she had nice towels. Everything they had seemed to be very good quality, like the sheets or the bedding. ... and over the door was a picture of girl playing the violin. It set a tone when you walked in. She gave it when she left to a neighbor who studied at the Julliard School of Music because she knew that lady would appreciate it. ... They did not camp and it wasn't like helter skelter stuff all over. It was very neat.
Douglas: ... And when you say that she gave the painting to somebody before they left, when did they leave?
McKnight: It was early fall. I'd say October, I don't know exactly. I think it was around October or September.
Douglas: What year was this?
Douglas: Did you see them after that?
McKnight: Not until we turned on the TV.
Douglas: Does anything else come to mind that happened between that time and the time they left? Do you have any idea what caused their leaving? It sounds like a pretty idyllic place. I'm wondering why they left.
McKnight: My husband might be able to give clarity on the issue. But Brian was talking to him and my husband said Brian if you ....
Douglas: We'll call Mr. McKnight. Could you just give your remembrance?
McKnight: As they left they had a yard sale and they just got rid of all their things. They had a truck that they took downtown to sell at a store there and they left it there with a for-sale sign. That left the fifth wheel at our house. And then after that yard sale, they just put backpacks on their backs and walked down the road and went on down the road. I just see two people with backpacks and I felt very sad that they were walking. We offered them a ride because its quite a ways to the town but they said, "No. We're just going to go on our own."
Judge: You may call your next witness.
Douglas: We would call Mr. Thomas McKnight.
Judge: Come forward and be sworn please right up here in front of the clerk of court. ... Just right there. That's fine.
McKnight: Thomas H. McKnight (says it, spells it).
Douglas: Hi, Mr. McKnight. Your wife just testified and we've heard a little about your community. But could you start by how you met Brian Mitchell and Wanda Barzee?
McKnight: My connection with the Mitchells and also with Wanda, I was asked through my LDS ward up in Idaho to visit the family on a monthly basis. What we call home teaching. That was my initial connection.
Douglas: Was it ... where did the Mitchells live at the time?
McKnight: They resided at the time on a communal effort which we referred to as "the farm." The farm consisted of a group of individuals who pooled their resources and wherewithal and worked together, and that's where they were.
Douglas: Did the people who lived at the farm have any beliefs that weren't shared by the rest of the community?
McKnight: There were whisperings and things of that nature. I was serving in an LDS bishopric at the time. With them being members, we did kind of keep an ear in that direction.
Douglas: What kind of suspicions did you and others speak about?
McKnight: There were things of a communal effort that caused some discomfort. There were some rumblings and whisperings with regard to polygamy. Things like that.
Douglas: Were there any political leanings at the farm?
McKnight: There was some concern with the way the country was attending. When we first moved into the area there was a ... kind of a shared need for everyone to be concerned about conditions in the country and back in Washington.
Douglas: What kind of conditions were they concerned about?
McKnight: At the time President Clinton was in office and Janet Reno, I forget her position, i think the concern was mainly ... that eludes me right now. But there was talk that we need to band together and march on Washington. Things like that.
Douglas: To your knowledge did any people who live at the farm follow the political figure known as Bo Gritz?
McKnight: I don't think there was much of a connection. Bo Gritz was more or less centered over to Kamiah which was kind of a sister to Kooskia. Over there, there were two developments in progress called Almost Heaven and Shenandoah. I think that was more his connection.
Douglas: Getting back to your relationship with the farm first and then Mr. Mitchell and Ms. Barzee after that, did you in your churchly duties were you the only person doing home teaching at the farm or were there others?
McKnight: It was primarily myself, and I had a son that was assigned to accompany me.
Douglas: How did you find the people there generally?
McKnight: I found the people there to be pretty sincere. Generally sincere overall in there ... what they were striving to do, it tended to go beyond my own beliefs. You know, tended to more center of the road. They were just off a bit to the center of the road. But sincere.
Douglas: Were all the people on the farm also attending the LDS church?
McKnight: The majority were members. They would attend fairly regularly, yes.
Douglas: When did Wanda and Brian come to the farm?
McKnight: To the best of my knowledge, it was probably at the time I made their acquaintance. In March of '95.
Douglas: Could you describe how you got to know them?
McKnight: It was through my monthly church visits.
Douglas: How well did you get to know them?
McKnight: Fairly well. It wasn't to where we would sit down and break bread, but it was friendly.
Douglas: Did you find you got to know Brian or Wanda better?
McKnight: I think about equally. Yes.
Douglas: What were your discussion with Brian like?
McKnight: Most of the time it was something of a doctrinal nature. A naturopathic nature. That pretty well comprises the discussions.
Douglas: What were your religious discussions like?
McKnight: He was quite concerned with certain doctrines or leadership in general. I learned to be basically a sound board. It's pretty hard to carry on a discussion when someone is on the domineering side. That was my experience with Brian.
Douglas: I just want to get an understanding about this. When you say he tended to be on the domineering side, did he do most of the talking about religion?
McKnight: Pretty well.
Douglas: What topics did you talk about?
McKnight: I couldn't remember right now. I just remember our final encounter. Basically he had come up to the house one day. We had a little meadow out beyond the house where we had a hose spit. That' s where they would get their drinking water. They came up and I happened to be outside and of course he started talking about a religious topic. And he was, I think concerned about one of the leaders.
Douglas: Which leaders?
McKnight: I can't remember. But President Kimball rings a bell. I just listened.
Douglas: Did he discuss President Benson with you?
McKnight: That did come up from time to time. ...
Douglas: Could you say what you remember about that?
McKnight: I don't think I can at this time. I just don't remember.
Douglas: Fair enough. During the home teachings, how did he appear? Did he appear interested in the topics?
McKnight: Brian? Yes. Of course. He was usually leading the discussion. Yes.
Douglas: Did you get the sense that his beliefs that he was voicing were sincere?
McKnight: I believe that he believed in them.
Douglas: Did you have any doubts at the time?
McKnight: Yeah. Because any time anyone can carry on a discussion, there was a little discussion. I would counter some time. And when two individuals can counter back and forth, I felt, someone is able to ... generally he's in his right mind to that point. Yes.
Douglas: Just so I get your correct impression: You don't find that he doubted what he was expressing to you.
McKnight: No. I felt he believed in what he was saying. Yes.
Douglas: You said he spoke about religion. What other things did you speak of? Or he speak of?
McKnight: He was very interested in simplifying life. There were several times we went for a walk together in the woods. He was interested in knowing certain plants and grasses. Sometimes he would bend down and say, "Tom, this is a good one here." And start eating it. He was quite interested in what he could retrieve from the land.
Douglas: I hadn't heard this before, so let me get a sense of what you??re describing. You would be out on a walk, he would bend down to a plant and eat it?
McKnight: He could identify the plants and grasses.
Douglas: Did you eat any of the grasses?
McKnight: I'm not a grazer so I didn't go that far. There was one occasion when he brought to the house a platter of leaves and said there were a lot of minerals and vitamins.
Douglas: Did you eat it?
McKnight: I think we probably fed it to the animals.
Douglas: OK. Any other, sounds like you had talks about naturalism?
Douglas: Did you have any other talks about health or medical?
McKnight: No. Conversations with Brian were usually confined within those two areas. I don't think generally outside of naturalistic medicine, holistic medicine, I don't think he could handle too much. We were in the process of building our home and producing our own materials and I tried several conversations and he wasn't interested in conversing.
Douglas: OK and, um, is it fair to say that you got to know Brian and Wanda fairly well?
McKnight: Yes, ... pretty well. We became pretty good friends. I enjoyed the friendship with Wanda and Brian. On several occasions, we invited them up to the unit we were living in and we would talk about different things and I know often I would give Wanda kind of a stack of popular music and ask her to play this and this, and Wanda could pretty well handle anything in the music area. She was very good, quite talented.
Douglas: She could just pick up a piece of music and sight read?
McKnight: Wanda could.
Douglas: How did the conversations go? Did the four of you speak together, did your wife and Wanda speak?
McKnight: Probably more Brian. He was on the dominant side. He wanted to lead the discussion. He sometimes would border slightly on browbeating just to make his point?
Douglas: Did you get the sense that Brian and Wanda loved each other?
McKnight: I can't say either way.
Douglas: Did Brian talk to you about other things?
McKnight: I don't know how to describe these other things other than powers that many would consider beyond normal.
Douglas: Especially relating to animals?
McKnight: Yeah. Brian had some ideas about how to merge with nature. For instance, we did have one neighbor who was aware of Brian's interest in holistic and naturalistic matters, and he had a sick cow one day. He came over and requested his help, and he went over and proceeded to heal the animal. He did that basically through motions like this here.
Douglas: Let me just get a sense of this. Which neighbor is this?
McKnight: The neighbor on the other side of the road, down a ways.
Douglas: How did he come to know did Brian suggest this or did the neighbor suggest this?
McKnight: They had been on our property for awhile and I guess a rumor gets around and the rumor, I guess, was that Brian had quite an ability in these particular areas.
Douglas: Do you recall what was wrong with the cow?
McKnight: As I recall, the cow was quite bloated. It may have been something else.
Douglas: Did you bring Brian to the neighbor's house?
McKnight: No, they came and took him over there.
Douglas: Then what happened there?
McKnight: He proceeded to do his thing and then I heard that the cow did die in fact.
Douglas: What do you mean?
McKnight: He had a technique that he felt there was some force between your hands and waving your hands like this over the infected area or spot, and that would probably induce some reaction in the affected area.
Douglas: He went over and performed this activity on the cow, and it didn't work on this occasion?
Douglas: Were there other occasions like this?
McKnight: My son tells me this ...
Judge: Sustained. That would be hearsay.
Douglas: Are you aware of Mr. Mitchell performing any similar ceremonies?
McKnight: No, not specifically.
Douglas: OK. Did Mr. Mitchell ever discuss or did you hear of any other powers that Mr. Mitchell claimed to have regarding the healing of animals?
Douglas: OK. Tell me what happened after the cow incident. How long would they have been there?
McKnight: Residing where they were? Well, I'm not quite sure at what point the cow healing took place. They were at our residence I believe from March 1995 to about October 1995. That probably occurred somewhere midway. The falling out occurred about October. At the time, as I mentioned a while ago, when he came up to retrieve water and he kind of had some grudge about something, I believe. It was some of the leadership in the LDS Church. I just looked him in the face and I said, 'Brian, you gotta change your ways, and you've got to change them now or you're going to go to hell.' From that moment on there was an icy pall between us. The next thing I knew, three weeks later they were in the process of divesting themselves of their possessions and leaving.
Douglas: And did you have any disagreements with Mr. Mitchell before that?
McKnight: No I would occasionally encounter some things that he was discussing. Generally I learned to be a sounding board. It's hard to have a discussion when someone is pretty cemented in their opinions.
Douglas: When was the final time that you encountered them before they left?
McKnight: The final time was the night before they left. I approached them and said I would like to take you down to the main road if that's what you want to do and I can at least do that much for you. They had basically divested themselves of everything that they had. They had had a yard sale just shortly before this date and what they didn't sell, they took to an individual that had kind of an ongoing daylong yard sale. That was their pickup and other household possessions. They left the fifth wheel, however, on the property. ... We had a little concern about three weeks after they were gone. I mentioned to my wife we ought to go down there and see if you can retrieve some information about the vendor. We made some phone calls, found out vendor was in Pullman or Spokane, Washington. I said he had some property here and was he interested? It was property they were trying to locate. The owner of the property was six, seven, eight months in arrears on payments but they were happy they had found it and said they'd like to retrieve it and they did.
Douglas: I don't think I have any more questions at this time. Before I do stop, I'd like to request a sidebar with Mr. Viti and myself.
Judge: On the record?
Douglas: Yes, please.
[Sidebar with Kimball, Douglas and Viti.]
Douglas: Excuse me. Just one last question and it follows on the cow theme that we talked about. Did Mr. Mitchell in any way at any time relate to you that he had the ability to heal animals or other living beings?
McKnight: No. Not in the sense that he could do it. But he often implied that it was possible.
Douglas: In what way?
McKnight: If a person was in tune with the right vibes I guess.
Douglas: Did he believe he was in tune with the right vibes?
McKnight: My experience was that he was in the process of becoming or very much so at the moment.
Douglas: To your understanding was that what was going on with the cow incident?
McKnight: Oh yes.
Douglas: I have no more questions.
Judge: Thank you, Mr. Douglas. Mr. Viti you may cross examine.
Viti: Mr. McKnight, these powers that Mr. Douglas asked you about if Mr. Mitchell had powers to heal, it wasn't that he had powers to heal the sick ... (withdrawn comment). He would do that through the medium of holistic medicine would he not?
McKnight: I don't think necessarily. I think Brian felt that was also an aide or an appendage or a medium he could fall back on.
Vitit: Did he use the word lymphology?
McKnight: Yes he did. That came up quite often.
Viti: And is that what you meant by Mr. Mitchell saying he could heal, was it through lymphology?
McKnight: Not in particular. It was through a medium or an aide. There were other things that he was pushing.
Viti: Like what?
McKnight: He would often bring up material for us to read. At one point he brought up a small book that would aide a person in improving their eyesight and not have to wear glasses.
Viti: These were things that were published, out in the world as alternatives to medicine?
McKnight: The eye exercises were because I saw the book. The lymphology, I'm not sure.
Viti: Let's talk about the commune that was near your property. You said their political leanings were right of center?
McKnight: That's correct.
Viti: And they believed in marching on Washington?
McKnight: In fact it was pretty far right of center.
Viti: But there's nothing particularly wrong with marching on Washington.
McKnight: No. ... It was a lot of hot air I think. But they would have liked to realize it if they could.
Viti: Have you ever been concerned about political conditions in the country?
McKnight: Quite regularly. Yes.
Viti: Help me understand this. You were a part of the bishopric in your ward is it?
McKnight: That is correct.
Viti: You were assigned to ... I don't want to use the word monitor but to engage with this community is that correct?
McKnight: I'm sure that's one of the fruits of it. Yes.
Viti: And at that time when Mr. Mitchell was there on your property you never suggested to your religious leaders that anyone in that commune should be excommunicated?
McKnight: No. Not in that sense. However, before I did invite Mr. Mitchell into my residence I did approach our stake president. I was assigned at that moment as a member of their high council. I approached him and mentioned to him that we had this individual from The Farm that would like to vacate his residence there. And I had an old logger's camp on my property. And he said no problem.
Viti: This is Mr. Mitchell? (Holds up an exhibit.)
Viti: You never recommended anyone at that time for excommunication?
McKnight: No. But there were some living outside of it who were brought in for discipline.
Viti: But no one from the commune where Mr. Mitchell was living?
McKnight: Not at that time.
Viti: You said that he seemed to dominate in your observation between Mr. Mitchell and Miss Barzee, he seemed to dominate her?
McKnight: Yes. I've often mentioned to my wife and a few others, he was more the hammer, she was more the anvil.
Viti: And you had mentioned it was very difficult for you to have a conversation with Mr. Mitchell because he always liked to dominate the conversation.
Viti: He felt that his views were far superior and more correct than anyone else's, including yours?
McKnight: That's true.
Viti: You had said at one time you would engage or at times you would engage in back and forth with him with Brian with respect to religious discussions?
Vitit: During these times of engaging back and forth, did he ever tell you to repent?
McKnight: No not in direct terms like that. He would suggest if I (or others) didn't do a certain procedure or follow through a flow chart a certain way, they would be in trouble.
Viti: Did he ever say the LDS church was out of order, and had gone into apostasy?
McKnight: No, but it was implied in the conversations where he was coming down on doctrines and certain leaders of the church.
Viti: Did he ever say he would be the one to put the church back in order?
McKnight: No not from his mouth, but more or less from a document that he had composed.
Viti: What document was that?
McKnight: I don't know the specific name for it that he was referring to it as, but up there in the areas there were several (different kinds of) bibles floating around. The Farm had one they were inscribing called 'The White Bible.' Brian brought it (his book) to me, 25-30 pages.
Viti: So an essay?
McKnight: Kind of a pamphlet or essay. It had been referred to as kind of a white bible too but that's a little suspect. I read it, gave it back to him, just being nice, I said it could use some refinement, work on it. That was the end of that, but I found it personally to be kind of a hodgepodge of ... I couldn't make sense of it, personally.
Viti: Were there things and concepts in what you had read that were familiar to you to a certain degree?
McKnight: Yes. The prose basically followed the prose of what we in the LDS church refer to as revelations from the Doctrine and Covenants.
Viti: So there was nothing unique about that to you?
McKnight: It stood out. It seemed to me he was justifying his own place on a pedestal.
Viti: In other words, what you had read was a justification for him being on that pedestal?
McKnight: That's correct and I think that was probably one reason he was wanting out of the off The Farm. In other words, two dogs and one bone will generally cause a fight. They had their white bible he had his document, there was a conflict there. The feeling I had, he couldn't achieve that spot on the pedestal.
Viti: So it was about power?
McKnight: I think the element of that was possibly there?
Viti: Sounds to me that he was very, very different from Wanda.
McKnight: Yes. Wanda was quite pleasant, you could have an exchange when you conversed. Brian didn't have much of a sense of humor, very, very rigid.
Viti: Rigid meaning he wouldn't listen?
McKnight: He may have listened, but I don't know if he heard.
Viti: Was Wanda a good organist or musician?
McKnight: Very talented.
Viti: Loved music?
McKnight: Loved music.
Viti: In fact, she got a church calling to play that music of hers?
McKnight: I'm trying to recall don't know if we specifically called her. I think we called her as an assistant organist to another woman that was in the ward.
Viti: Was Mr. Mitchell envious of that or was he disturbed that Wanda was called and he was not?
Judge: He can certainly testify to his understanding.
Viti: From your observation of Mr. Mitchell, did he express any anger or envy that Wanda was called and he wasn't?
McKnight: I sensed very, very strongly that there was an inferiority complex or inferiority feeling or whatever. Wanda, to my feelings, she had the talent between the two and I always felt that Brian was trying to achieve a match.
Viti: And he jut couldn't do it?
McKnight: Well he was in the process of becoming.
Viti: What do you mean?
McKnight: Well I think he was using his areas of interest to kind of rise to her level.
Viti: And these interests were religious interests?
McKnight: You mean the conversations?
Viti: You said he was using his interests.
McKnight: People were beginning to refer to him if they had a problem with an animal, something of that nature, they would come to Brian.
Viti: You felt sorry for Wanda?
McKnight: Yes. In the sense that most women need security, let me rephrase that ... I think a lot of women seek security.
Viti: From your impressions of Wanda, you got the sense that she needed security?
McKnight: Yes, I think Wanda was not a controlling figure, she needed someone to kind of point the way.
Viti: Did Wanda ever speak to you about her prior relationships?
McKnight: No, not to me.
Viti: Did you overhear conversations that Wanda was having about her prior relationships.
McKnight: Just through my wife.
Viti: Were you worried that, did you think that through your impressions of Wanda and Mr. Mitchell that she was easily swayed and dominated by him?
Viti: When Mr. Mitchell left the fifth wheel trailer on your property, you were concerned about who was the rightful owner of that, is that correct?
Viti: Did Mr. Mitchell ever express any concern about that fifth wheel trailer?
Viti: Just left it on your property?
McKnight: I'm trying to recall, but I don't recall anything like that.
Viti: He did leave it on your property?
McKnight: Yes, but I don't recall any conversation that he was going to give it to us.
Viti: He just walked away from it?
McKnight: He walked away from everything.
Viti: Even though he owed money on that?
McKnight: That's what I found out. Yes.
Viti: In your observations and conversation with Mr. Mitchell, did you ever think he was suffering from a mental illness?
McKnight: No. I just felt that he was a little determined in his viewpoints.
Viti: Zealous in his viewpoints?
McKnight: Zealous would be a good word. Yes.
Viti: Who drove his truck? Did he drive it?
McKnight: That was Brian's truck. He drove it.
Viti: You saw him do that?
Viti: May I have a moment, your honor?
Viti: This essay or pamphlet, I think you called it a pamphlet, that Mr. Mitchell gave you. This was 1995?
McKnight: That was sometime midway in their tenure with us.
Viti: In 1995?
Viti: I have no further questions.
Judge: Thank you, Mr. Viti. Redirect, Mr. Douglas?
Douglas: Just a few questions. You were Mr. Mitchell's home teacher?
Douglas: Did you find it out of the ordinary that he dominated the conversations?
Douglas: Was it fair to describe him as zealous, as Mr. Viti said?
Douglas: I'm curious about the white book you spoke of. Can you tell me about it?
McKnight: I have never read the white book. ... I just knew of it. And we were kind of ... they were passing some out and we became quite concerned as an LDS church in that area.
Douglas: The pamphlet that Mr. Mitchell gave you if I'm not describing it fairly, please correct me you said it was difficult to read?
Douglas: But you recognized some of the language in it?
McKnight: It was typical LDS prose? D and C prose?
Douglas: By LDS prose, do you mean things that would be in the Book of Mormon, perhaps the King James Bible?
Douglas: Correct me if I'm wrong, you said it seemed to justify Mr. Mitchell's place on a pedestal?
McKnight: It impressed me as his effort to justify that, yes.
Douglas: In justifying his place, was it that he was to be a leader rather than a follower?
McKnight: Definitely not a follower. Some kind of leader, yes. That's why I mentioned the farm problem why he probably wanted to vacate.
Douglas: Mr. Viti asked if it was an expression of his desire for power. But did it also express his beliefs? Did you have any reason to doubt that this was his belief?
McKnight: I believed that he believed in what he was writing. I was never quite sure what he believed in the sense.
Douglas: Fair enough. No more questions, you honor.
Judge: Any recross, Mr. Viti?
Viti: You said, "D and C." For those who aren't familiar, what is that?
McKnight: It's the Doctrine and Covenants of the LDS Church.
[Court takes a break.]
[Jury enters the courtroom at 12:48 p.m.]
Judge: You may call your next witness.
Steele: Defense would call Wanda Barzee.
Judge: Would you stand right there Ms. Barzee and be sworn please?
[Wanda is sworn in]
Barzee: Wanda Barzee (says her name and spells it out).
Steele: Good afternoon Wanda.
Barzee: Good afternoon.
Steele: Do you know Brian David Mitchell?
Barzee: Yes I do.
Steele: What is your relationship to him?
Barzee: I'm married to him.
Steele: How long have you been married?
Barzee: I think it's been about 25 years.
Steele: When did you meet him, do you remember?
Barzee: I met him, it was about in 1985. I was introduced to him in the 10th ward of the Salt Lake Park stake.
Steele: Were you both members of that ward?
Steele: Where did you have more contact with him?
Barzee: I originally met him in group counseling with Jolene Green.
Steele: What kind of group counseling was it?
Barzee: It was ... I was told I was going to learn to get in touch with my feelings so I wouldn't get depressed.
Steele: What kinds of things were talked about in the group counseling, was it all depression or other things?
Barzee: There were other things. There were individual problems that people had.
Steele: Was depression the thing you all shared or was there something else?
Barzee: I don't remember.
Steele: OK. ... What ... how did you become close through this group counseling what happened within that?
Barzee: My bishop told me that I would meet someone that would have the same kind of problems that I had had. I was introduced to Brian in the ward. And over a problem I had with my previous relationship with my children and I didn't want to say anything, but Brian came walking in and when Jolene Green got near to me I poured my heart out with what was bothering me. There was a married man there that wanted to comfort me by holding my hand. When Jolene got around to Brian he wanted to be the one to comfort me and he held my hand. We held hands from then on.
Steele: How long were you in this therapy group?
Barzee: I don't remember. I think about four weeks.
Steele: What happened after that. Did you strike up a friendship. Did you talk?
Barzee: It was the next week. I knew that Brian didn't have a car. It was cold outside and I offered him a ride home. We started talking and we were friends ever since.
Steele: You said you were going to meet someone who had the same kind of problems you had. What did you take that to mean. [Wanda stutters a bit] ... Why don't you take a deep breath and you can wait a second before answering.
Barzee: I was married to my first husband for 20 years, raising six children. It was a very abusive situation. I never did heal from that first relationship before I met Brian. The house sold in Sandy and I thought I was going to be alright. I was terrified of being alone so I was desperate to have. ... I didn't want to tell my problems to anyone else. Brian was so supportive to me. He became my best friend.
Steele: Did he come out of a similar experience?
Barzee: Yes. He said he was abused also.
Steele: Did he have the same kinds of anxieties about the future that you had? Was he worried about being alone?
Barzee: He never said that.
Steele: He enjoyed being with you?
Steele: After that first week what happened?
Barzee: He would call me every night from his work place. He worked as a maintenance man at different jobs. He would call and talk till midnight or one in the morning.
Steele: What were you talking about?
Barzee: I don't remember.
Steele: Was it a good thing to talk to him?
Barzee: Yeah. He was very supportive of me and my situation ... I understood that he was ... he had become active in the church just long enough to be have been ordained an elder and he had been through the temple and received his endowments. I thought he was a righteous man.
Steele: Were you involved in the church?
Steele: How long?
Barzee: I had been active in the church since I was very small.
Steele: Most recently at the time you met him, were you active in the church?
Steele: What kind of things did you do in the church?
Barzee: I was the organist. That's what I did mostly.
Steele: So you're having nightly conversations with him until early in the morning. How did the relationship progress from there?
Barzee: I, um, my bishop and stake president it wasn't approved by church that we were both going through a divorce. Normally, it wasn't approved by the church that we date, but my stake president and bishop knew that we needed each other as friends, so they condoned our relationship and Brian would come over to my house and I'd feed him a meal and we'd go to church together.
Steele: You've described a little bit of the support you need from him. How did he need you as a friend?
Barzee: My ... I had to leave all my children, who were abusive to me, and I was forced to leave my first husband in order to survive. ... I was depressed, on 150 mg of an antidepressant. So I wasn't able to have custody of my little girl Marie until I started feeling better. I started to feel better, and my [ex-husband] was told that I was going to fight for the custody of my little girl, and he fought me against that. But ... and he physically took my little girl away from me on a weekend visit and took her to my bishop's office, and I guess from there my bishop was telling me to go to counseling and I needed to work out my relationship to my husband.
Steele: Let me bring it back to you and Brian. Was he around after this time? Immediately after this time?
Barzee: He was around when I had visitation with Marie. We took her to an art festival I think one time.
Steele: And that's a way he was supportive of you?
Steele: How were you supportive of him. How did he need you?
Barzee: He was always around. He never told me how he needed me.Â He got. ...
Steele: That may be the way most men act in any case. What did you think he needed you for?
Barzee: Well he was, I thought we were friends, and um, he seemed to give me more support than I gave him. He didn't seem to need much.
Steele: Well, he ... you've said that you were having some mental health problems at that time, taking some antidepressants. Had you had a history of mental health problems?
Barzee: I had never heard of depression or abuse in my life. It wasn't until well, I was always going to my bishop, telling him the problems I was having with my family. But the bishops always thought that I was blowing things out of proportion, and it wasn't until my children were older and they were all acting out that a bishop realized that I needed help. When my son was suicidal, he stole flash attachments from neighbors. That's when I started getting help from counselors.
Steele: Was it your understanding that Brian also had mental health problems?
Barzee: Not at the time. He was going to group counseling, but he didn't open up very much.
Steele: Did he open up with you on those phone calls?
Barzee: I don't know what we talked about. It was just a casual conversation.
Steele: How long before you married?
Barzee: I think we had a nine-month courtship. We got married the day his divorce was final, November 29, 1985.
Steele: What was your first year of marriage like?
Barzee: It was hellish.
Barzee: The arguments we would get in, and he would be possessive of me and controlling.
Steele: What were you arguing about?
Barzee: I don't remember.
Steele: Do you remember how the arguments would come about?
Steele: Did it grow out of the problems in your previous marriages, do you think, the two of you?
Barzee: I think so.
Steele: Did you have children around that first year?
Barzee: No. He would always say it was a good thing we didn't have our children because he didn't think our marriage would have lasted.
Steele: And what did he mean by that?
Barzee: Well Bishop England gave me a blessing once and told me that Satan was going to do everything in his power to stop us. And the Lord would give me patience to work with Brian and work out our problems.
Steele: Stop you and Brian?
Steele: You took that to commit to working through the problems?
Steele: And were you able to?
Barzee: It was painful and it was difficult but we got through that first year.
Steele: What became better after that first year?
Barzee: Brian would say he would become consumed in fear and doubt. He would never talk to me about what he was fearful of. He would get angry and we would get in an argument and he would leave the house before he got so violent that he wold hurt somebody or destroy something.
Steele: Did he tell you he had had these problems before?
Barzee: He never said anything about what he would do wrong. He would just talk about his ex-wife.
Steele: Did he tell you about a TV?
Barzee: Yes, he did.
Steele: What did he tell you?
Barzee: He said he was so angry once that he took the television out and threw it on the sidewalk.
Steele: This was in his previous marriage?
Steele: What did he tell you about that? Why was he leaving the house when he would get angry?
Barzee: He didn't want to get that angry anymore that he would destroy something or hurt somebody.
Steele: How long would he be gone from the house typically?
Barzee: I never timed him. It would be a few minutes. There was one time he was gone for several hours the argument was so bad. It was raining outside and he came back at 11 or 12 at night. That was the longest he had been gone. He came back crying and apologized. He was all wet. He said he was sorry he nearly destroyed me.
Steele: The other times he would be less angry when he came back?
Barzee: Yes. He would be gone long enough to cool down.
Steele: So he understood how to do that?
Steele: So at the end of the year are you having fewer arguments?
Barzee: Yes. It wasn't until I was ... I had ... I was trying to get a sealing cancellation from my first husband in the temple. That took sometime. It was during that period that Brian and I had the worst problems. My bishop thought it was because of Satan's power and anyway, Brian didn't seem to be as fearful by the time we got sealed in the temple on the 23rd of January in 1988. It got better then.
Steele: It took you three years to work through a lot of that stuff?
Barzee: Jolene Green told me in one session that I needed to be the one in control and not feed the fire. That I needed to help Brian overcome his fear and doubt.
Steele: You've said this several times. The full phrase consumed ...
Barzee: Consumed in his fear and doubt.
Steele: Do you know what that means?
Barzee: He would never tell me what he was fearful of. I know times he would just scream into his pillow. He would just scream. Muffling the sound with the pillow, trying to make himself cry.
Steele: Did he make himself cry?
Barzee: He never did.
Steele: Did it help him to scream into the pillow?
Barzee: He never did say.
Steele: What was happening before he would say he was consumed in fear in doubt?
Barzee: I don't remember.
Steele: OK. So what happened ... the marriage seems better three years into it in 1988. What's going on then?
Barzee: Well, he ... our communication ... well, I learned to let me ... I went through a refining fire and my defensive walls came down. I was less argumentative with him. That's when we were sealed in the temple. He just didn't seem to be as fearful. I just thought our marriage was improving. He had ... he was called as a high councilman and made a high priest and even served as a counselor in the bishopric for a while. I didn't think about it until a few days ago but when he was released as a counselor and the bishop was released,I think he was aspiring for a higher position. He thought he was the one who should have been bishop.
Steele: But he wasn't called and he seemed disappointed?
Steele: Your marriage was better at that time. Was he working?
Barzee: He worked at OC Tanner factory and was a die cutter. He made our wedding rings and made five sets while he worked at OC Tanner.
Steele: Did you ... were you working?
Steele: What were you doing at this time?
Barzee: I stayed at home as a house wife. I never did want to work. We had the custody of my little girl ... for three years. She left our home and went to live with her dad at the age of 14.
Steele: What years was she with you. What were the three years, did it start in '88?
Barzee: We got the custody of Laurie when we got married. So that was '86.
Steele: '86 to '89?
Steele: You spent a lot of time each day with music. You're a musician. What instrument do you play?
Barzee: I play the organ. I had an organ in our apartment.
Steele: How long each day did you practice?
Barzee: I would practice six to eight hours a day.
Steele: Sounds like a full time job.
Steele: Did you enjoy that?
Steele: Were you studying with anyone at that time? 1988 to 1990?
Steele: Had you been studying before that with someone?
Barzee: I started studying with Clay Christiansen in 1980. I was married to my first husband and during the crisis with my family I played my first organ recital in 1982. Then because of family problems I wasn't able to continue at that time.
Steele: When did you play your second organ recital?
Barzee: About four years after Brian and I were married I played that in the 10th ward at an historic pipe organ that the bishop had restored, 1989.
Steele: At that time, were you studying with somebody?
Steele: Were you ... did you and Brian socialize with anyone?
Barzee: I don't remember socializing very much.
Steele: Did you see your family?
Barzee: No, not very much.
Steele: Did you see his family?
Barzee: Um, we'd be invited for dinners. We had picnics once in a while, family gatherings, mostly around Christmas time.
Steele: And you'd go to those?
Steele: Were there any other kids in the home in the 1988-90 time frame?
Barzee: I had the custody of my daughter LouRee and my sons Mark and Derick lived with us. I think Brian's son that he had adopted out came back to live with us around that time, too, so we had four children.
Steele: Did you get along with Travis?
Steele: At some point, did you start temple work, you and Brian?
Barzee: I don't remember what year. I think it was, um. Brian was a metal worker before I was called to serve with him and, um, then I, then we, then I, we did the couple part together in the live endowment in the Salt Lake temple.
Steele: Did you enjoy that?
Steele: You were fully involved in the church and sincere in your beliefs?
Steele: Was Brian the same way at that time?
Barzee: I thought so.
Steele: Did you continue to have a lot of conversations with Brian throughout your marriage?
Barzee: We had a hard time communicating. It was, I don't remember what year it was, but probably '92 or around there, but he left the house angry, and went to his friend's house and stayed there and, uh, I called him up and asked him when he was going to come home. He said he'd come home when he was good and ready to, and that upset me, and I called my mother and I went to my mother's home and stepfather's home and stayed a while until later that night. Then I called Brian and he'd come home and he was surprised that I was gone. Anyway, we went to the bishop and he told us about horses working together, that they have to work together in order to get along and that seemed to click something in Brian and I that we seemed to communicate better after that.
Steele: In '92 were things working out better once again?
Steele: And were you talking more and fighting less?
Barzee: We were fighting less, but I thing that I just learned to be more silent and I learned to be submissive and obedient. He had made his sister and her fiance a wedding set, and it was beautiful, and so I wanted another ring, and I had been looking around at jewelers, and I found one, and he went there and drew a picture of it and he kept it in his drawer for four years. Then we moved out of the Park Stake and into the Well Stake and we were only there for six months, and I became certified to play the assembly hall organ for special events. Anyway, we moved back ... difficulties transpired and we moved back into the Park Stake and Princeton Ward and he just felt it was time to make my wedding ring, and he had a hard time making it, and I got impatient with him and I wanted the ring finished, and, uh, I was reading the scriptures and I read to be submissive and meek and humble and I knew that I had been pressuring him and compelling him to make the ring, and I started to cry and knelt down and prayed and the Lord wanted me to be submissive to my husband, but he finished the ring, just before we ere released as temple ordinance workers after only a year.
Steele: So he finally made the ring?
Steele: Did you like the ring?
Steele: But you had to wait a long time?
Steele: How long did you play organ in the assembly hall?
Barzee: I was certified but Clay Christiansen became the tabernacle organist and he certified me over the phone. He said he couldn't wait for me to play for events, but I waited five months before I was called to play the first memorial service. I think I played for three memorial services, and I played for state conference and a seminary graduation.
Steele: How difficult is that? Are many people certified to play in the assembly hall?
Steele: Did you and Brian have a daily religious time in the home? Did you pray?
Barzee: He, um, we always prayed, but he was always critical of me for the shows that I wanted to watch. He wouldn't allow me ever to watch a show that I wanted to. If I started to watch a show, he would punish me if he didn't want to watch it. He would punish me like getting angry and leaving the room and not having anything to do with me until I gave him what he wanted. He was very particular on the shows that he wanted to watch. We even sold our television saying we were only going to watch videos that he would pick out.
Steele: What shows weren't you able to watch?
Barzee: There was Nine to Five, that I saw one time that I thought was a delightful show. I laughed through it. I thought it was quite comical. It wasn't a bad show. â But he never wanted me to watch it.
Steele: Who is in that photo?
Barzee: That's Brian David Mitchell.
Steele: Do you know what time period that would be?
Barzee: No. I don't. That was the first photo that he gave to me maybe.
Steele: He gave that to you in 1985?
Barzee: I think so.
Steele: Is that what he looked like at that time?
Barzee: I think so.
[Exhibit C is received into evidence]
Steele: That looks like the first photo he gave you?
Barzee: I think so. He didn't give me very many. I just remember one or two.
Steele: Did you give him photos?
Steele: Did you have a lot of photos?
Barzee: I used to take pictures a lot. I had a family photo on the wall with my children and my first husband and I. But before we were married he had me throw darts at it for a problem I had.
Steele: Tell me what that was about.
Barzee: That was the abuse I suffered with my first husband. He didn't think that should be on the wall. We got into an argument and he apologized by giving me a dart and a card. He set up a box in my apartment and took the picture off the wall and put it on the cardboard box and had me throw a dart at it ... so I threw the dart and got it right between the eyes (laughs).
Steele: Good for you (laughing) ... Are you OK?
Steele: OK. The early 1990s that you're talking about some of that time frame, he's working for OC Tanner?
Barzee: He first started working for OC Tanner when we first got married. He was a maintenance man working at the retail store downtown. That was before we got married and they turned the jewelers bench over to him. That's when he made our wedding sets, and our first anniversary ring, which was significant. It had a pearl which represented the Lord, and the pearl was sitting on a leaf and the rose had a diamond in the middle of it and that represented manifestations of God's love and the thorn on the band represented the adversity in my life. And I think he worked ... I don't remember when he went down to the factory. But I think he worked as a die cutter there for about eight years.
Steele: When did he stop working there?
Barzee: I don't remember the year, but it was ... he worked at historical arts and casting for about eight months before I played my third organ recital in 1994.
Steele: Tell me about the third organ recital.
Barzee: I had started organ lessons with an organ professor Doug Bush at BYU. I would go down to Provo for my lesson. We couldn't afford much so I started taking bi-weekly. This was the same time that we had moved out of the Park Stake and into the Wells Stake. About the same time I played the Assembly Hall organ that I felt I needed to take weekly (lessons) and so we made the sacrifice financially. I studied with Doug until ... I was practicing the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and he was taking me on different levels with Bach. ... Just more music. And then I resolved in my mind to play another organ recital. I wanted to do it for myself and find the church to do it in. I got frustrated and I knew the Lord had lessons for me before I could play it.
Steele: At some point you gave that recital?
Barzee: Dr. Bush was a bishop down at his ward in Provo. I left it in his hands to let me know when I had learned the lessons I needed to learn. One of those lessons was to let the music become my friend.
Steele: In 1994, he set it up for you?
Steele: You connected this in with Brian's job in some way?
Barzee: Well, Brian had given me a priesthood blessing in 1993 after we were released as temple ordinance workers, I think, and told me that I had played the celestial pipe organs in the pre-existence and I had associated with the Gods and my calling was to glorify God through the music I played. To inspire and strengthen the human soul. And that I wasn't to play for the world that I would play for those people in celestial law.
(she pauses) â¦.
I was practicing for this recital and he was working at historical arts and casting, making candle stick holders. Reproductions of Frank Lloyd Wright's candlesticks and selling them for $300. He thought he was making and selling idols. Because of muscle spasms I had in my back and shoulders because of stress, we couldn't afford the chiropractic bill. My mother heard of Dr. C. Samuel West teaching the science of lymphology down in Orem, Utah, and my step father had prostate cancer for the second time and they had gotten the material and went to work on my body and I was healed. And my step father was healed form cancer.
Steele: Who had healed you?
Barzee: Just the work i did jumping on a trampoline and doing the self-healing that we had learned.
Steele: Had you met Dr. West at that point?
Barzee: We met Dr. West when we got the material.
Steele: At some point he quit his job, you said he didn't like making idols and the two of you were interested in Dr. West and lymphology.
Barzee: Brian thought it was the Lord's will for him to teach lymphology so after my recital ... they had me play for a christmas program and so Brian had ... i played the piano Christmas music for the program. But when I was ready for the organ recital because his employer (from OC Tanner) didn't come to my recital ... that was a sign from the Lord that Brian was going to teach lymphology.
Steele: That was a sign from the Lord, because they didn't come?
Steele: Tell me about lymphology.
Barzee: Dr. West knew (LDS) President Ezra Taft Benson when he was alive and President Benson and he wanted the science to be taught in Salt Lake City, and Dr. West was in Orem. And Brian thought he could do that in Salt Lake and live off the donations and he could support us in Salt Lake City.
Steele: Where did you live after he quit his job?
Barzee: After my organ recital, Brian had given me a blessing saying that the organ recital was the turning point in my life, and I was going to play it for the hosts of heaven andÂ Jesus Christ ... and all my ancestors were going to feel the sanctity. And I felt the power of God there. And in the priesthood blessing I was told that the lord would lead me to my exaltation from that day forth, and that was the turning point in my life. ... Anyway, so we couldn't make the house payment, so we sold everything we owned, and miraculously a fifth-wheel trailer was provided, and we moved up to Heber, Utah, next door to my sister Evelyn and her husband, Dick, and their trailer. And Brian would go to Orem, Utah, to be trained up by Dr. West.
Steele: This time that you've now described, moving into the fifth-wheel trailer, studying lymphology. You like lymphology, it had helped out, and Brian clearly liked it, too. He thought it was a really good thing. It was also, there's a health aspect to it. A diet aspect. Is that true? Is there a religious aspect to it?
Barzee: Well, it was you didn't have to pay taxes. It was like the church, and Dr. West was just teaching it by itself, and this was the first time he had called another man to work with him on the phones.
Steele: What did they do on the phones?
Barzee: Teach people all over the internationally.
Steele: Was Brian, was he genuinely interested and sincere about teaching lymphology?
Barzee: I thought he was.
Steele: And were the two of you still involved in the church?
Barzee: At that time, yes.
Steele: But you were still living up in Heber?
Barzee: Yes, and that was when Brian decided to stop going to the meetings, and I followed him.
Steele: How did you feel about that? Not going to meetings any more.
Barzee: I didn't think anything about it. Brian left the meeting house, went for a drive, had trouble with the car, had the inspiration to come back and get me. I don't remember what I felt, but I went out, left the meeting house, went out, looked for Brian and there he was. He didn't think that we should be affiliated with any organized religion at that time.
Steele: And he stopped believing in God?
Barzee: No, he said he still believed in God.
Steele: Did he talk to you about that?
Steele: Did he talk about what his belief in God was at that point? How did you know he believed in God at that point?
Barzee: I don't.
Steele: Then what?
Barzee: They made me an organist, and they had me do a solo at sacrament meeting, and it reminded me of the piece that I played at my organ recital. I had the same kind of respect from the congregation.
Steele: So you continued to be involved?
Steele: How long did you live in Heber?
Barzee: Four months.
Steele: Where did you go after Heber?
Barzee: Brian looked at the map and felt we should go north. He didn't know where, but he just thought the lord would reveal it to us.
Steele: So he was back talking about the lord at that point?
Barzee: Well yeah.
Steele: What did you do?
Barzee: We left on Labor Day. He never pulled a trailer before but ...
Steele: Labor Day what year?
Barzee: It was 1994, I think.
Steele: You were talking about him pulling a trailer, and he hadn't done that before?
Barzee: He had, he, um. The ... he had never driven a truck before either. The steering wheel had a lot of play in it driving down the canyon. We had to pull over and empty some weight and repack some things to make it pull better. We got down to the bottom of the canyon and pulled into a gas station. I told him to pull out wide, but he didn't do that and bent the axle.
[They were stuck there for three days.]
Through a priesthood blessing we were told that we needed to simplify our lives by getting rid of some things. We would reach our destination with all of our belongings. When we came to it, the angels would be with us.
Steele: What place did you come to?
Barzee: I went in, my sister had taken us into St. Mary's and Brian and I lost the faith, and we ended up in St. Mary's at their friend's house, and we talked to Randy Huffacre, who contacted some people who was owners of the Pleasant Valley farm near Grangeville. I don't remember the town.
Steele: What is the Pleasant Valley farm?
Barzee: It was 160 acres with five to six LDS families living on it, thinking they were going to go back to basics. But then there was Cathy Shear and her husband. I can't remember his name. But I didn't know what was happening, but Cathy just found out that we weren't active in the church anymore, and she thought that maybe we had joined with a community and their apostate beliefs, so she didn't talk to me a long time we were there.
Steele: She and her husband were one of the couples up there.
Steele: Were they in charge?
Barzee: I think that they owned some property up there. They just didn't participate. They had found out about the apostate beliefs, so they didn't participate in the group.
Steele: What apostate beliefs were those?
Barzee: We found out later there was a white Bible they believed in that was false. I couldn't read it. I didn't like it. I had a bad feeling about it, so I didn't read it.
Steele: That was a Bible that the community was
Barzee: Believing in.
Steele: So what happened after you disagree with the beliefs there?
Barzee: There was a meeting that was going to be held there, and Brian and I were the only ones to attend. And there was a couple there that uh, that I can't remember, Moroni and Ruth, but she believed that she had the priesthood or something and they wanted to teach us how to pray to God the father without going through Jesus Christ, and Brian stood up and (said) their teachings were false, and we left.
Steele: You were both offended by what they were doing?
Steele: You had a set of beliefs that you held very dearly. And then where did you go from there?
Barzee: Cathy Shear heard that Brian had testified against the whole community, saying it was going to fail, and the members of the owners of the community, they got very angry and wanted us off the property. And it was Tom McKnight who come to our trailer. He was a high councilman at the time, and he wanted me to play a solo at church at the Grangeville ward, and he talked on Sunday and I told him I couldn't do that. He said if anything happened at the farm that we'd have a place on his property.
Steele: Did you go to live on his property?
Barzee: It was about a week later that the man that was partners on that Pleasant Valley farm. He came from Spokane, Washington. I guess they were waiting for him to come to the property. We had him come and there were two other men who came to our trailer and they said we needed to leave or they would go to no extent to get us off the property.
Steele: So you got to Tom McKnight's and how long did you live there?
Barzee: I don't remember. Tom and Betty McKnight would go to Salt Lake often and we would stay in their trailer and take care of their animals and their home for them. We were just always crossing paths. I think it was ... let me see ... it was around 1995. Brian went for a walk one day and there wasn't any way to pay for our trailer so he came back and said it was the Lord's will that we sell everything we own and buy backpacks and tents and sleeping bags and go hitchhiking across the nation.
Steele: Going back a bit, did you enjoy your time on the McKnight's property?
Barzee: Yes I did.
Steele: Was it six months, eight months, not quite that long or longer?
Barzee: I just don't know. I know Tom and Betty were in Salt Lake one time and I felt the impression to start going to church again. So we became members of the Kooskia ward I think. I was made a pianist in the relief society. We were, I don't remember how long we were members of that ward.
Steele: Did you get rid of your possessions?
Barzee: We had them up for sale and it was Fred and Janice Benson who also lived in Big Cedar. We gave them some pictures and some food storage we had. We put everything else up for a sale for a yard sale or something. There was some small store down there.
Steele: So you sold everything and then did you leave?
Barzee: I think it was Aug. 8 that we were on the property of Fred and Janice Benson and I got a priesthood blessing and I felt that we were given specific instruction on how we were to travel, hitchhiking across the nation to see the sights and early history of the (LDS) church. We were first to stop and Adam-ondi-Ahman (in Missouri) and go from there.
Steele: Is that what you did? Did you write a book about it?
Barzee: I kept a journal.
Steele: What did you call that journal?
Barzee: I can't remember.
[Steele calls for exhibit. Shows it to Barzee.]
Barzee: I think this is the journal I wrote when we went through the nation.
Steele: If you would look at ... first of all ... is it typed, handwritten?
Barzee: It's in my handwriting.
Steele: And your handwriting is special is it not?
Barzee: It was then. I was always right-handed but when we traveled through the nation we were up in the Santa Cruz mountains of Palo Alto, California. We stayed there for five months while we pulled a handcart and I felt impressed to practice writing with my left hand. So this was written with my left hand.
Steele: How long did it take to teach yourself to write left-handed?
Barzee: It took me a while. While Brian said he was ministering, I would be at libraries and I would practice writing recipes and things down.
Steele: If I were to call that calligraphy instead of mere handwriting would that be fair?
(answer not heard)
Steele: You were talking about the Santa Clara Mountains and a handcart. Describe that cart to me.
Barzee: It was a box and it had a handle bar behind it and we pulled it. Brian had built an extension on the top. Two wings that opened up and we held our tent on. The front door and the back door opened up and the front part we would keep our dishes and the stove and things to travel with.
Steele: And how long did it take to build that?
Barzee: We were up in the Santa Cruz Mountains for five months.
Steele: I think I misspoke. I said Santa Clara. It's Santa Cruz Mountains.
Barzee: Yes. â¦ We pulled it to San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge. It's been so long I can't remember. We ended up, there have been people on difficult passages who would take it over the difficult passages.
Steele: Do you remember a man by the name of Frank DiSalvo?
Barzee: Yes I do.... he owned a guitar shop I think in Red Bluff or Redding, California. We needed new bicycle tires (for the handcart) and it was going to take us three days. And Frank and Judy, they put us up for three days.
Steele: What happened to the handcart?
Barzee: Frank and Judy were ministers and he played the guitar. Frank had a revelation to say that he had a book for us. The Final Quest. He gave us each a copy to read and he had a revelation that we weren't going to pull the handcart very much longer. That it was just to strengthen us in our faith. From there he had gotten a truck and I think he gave us $50, a tent and some clothes. I think it was Redding, California that he let us out and Brian and I ... it must have been in November because we celebrated my birthday eating in a restaurant. We pulled it up a hill for the last time and it just became too burdensome. So we turned down the road and felt like we should give it to a Catholic charity.
Steele: Looking at the first page of calligraphy. ... would you look at that ... I'll come back to that. I don't think that's where I wanted you to look. So this was one of the places you had hitchhiked to that was in the book?
Barzee: I think so.
Steele: What's the first place you hitchhiked to from Kooskia?
Barzee: I'm confused now.
Steele: When you walked off the McKnight property, where did you hitchhike to?
Barzee: Well, Fred and Janice, we went back to Salt Lake after we sold all of our belongings, and we stayed in a field and that's where I was told to get caught up on my journaling and I was to write a journal every day. Then we went back to Fred and Janice's. I think it was after the 24th of July, and Fred told us that all of our property had been sold. I think we got a check for about 1,900 dollar. I don't remember the amount exactly.
Steele: Was it after that you headed off on your trip to the east?
Barzee: No, we need to get backpacks and sleeping bags. Brian thought we should hitchhike to Spokane, Washington, and that's what we did before we received instructions to go back east.
Steele: What were the instructions?
Barzee: That we were to leave on the 15th of August in 1995, that we would take out backpacks and tent and the Lord would provide the rides for us, and we would be protected and we were to take $300 and if we couldn't get $300, we were only to take $200 and if we couldn't get $200, we were to take $100. We only got $100 and there were, I guess, people that never picked up hitchhikers before who felt impressed to turn around and pick us up.
Steele: From Spokane, they took you on the first leg of our journey. Where did you go on this journey? What are some of the places, some of the highlights where you went?
Barzee: Well, there was Adam-ondi-Ahman.
Steele: Where was that?
Barzee: I don't remember. I don't remember where these places are.
Barzee: That was ... I'm not sure, I can't remember that either.
Steele: Did you ...
Barzee: It was a beautiful property. I think the saints are supposed to gather there in the last days.
Steele: So you went to places that are important to Latter-day Saints?
Barzee: Yes. We went to Carthage, Illinois, where Joseph Smith was martyred. We went to, uh, there was the jail. There was Liberty, I think Liberty, before we got into, oh, Nauvoo. Then we before we got into, um, the sacred grove in Palmyra, I received another blessing to say that in filling my righteous desire, that we were to go into Boston, Philadelphia and New York City, where we to see the sites and the Constitution and the Founding Fathers at our discretions, and then I was to seek out a humble church where I would play three recitals in Boston, Philadelphia and New York, in that order, each city getting progressively larger and more wicked. (inaudible ) The things the Lord had given us so that our lives would be preserved. The Lord gave me 21 days to play three recitals by the time I found the cathedral. There wasn't any physical bodies there. I think there was five physical bodies, but we felt the spirits. And in Boston, Massachusetts, I felt Satan's power to cause me to quit playing, but I knew it was Satan's power and we kept playing the recital and got through that, and at the recital in Philadelphia, we were given a $250 charge to rent the sanctuary, and the Lord said that was a test for me that I truly desired to glorify him. So he paid the debt off in his own way. We didn't come up with $250. All we had was $50, and the proprietor over the church just thanked us for coming and sharing my talent and went on her way.
Steele: Then you went to New York City? You were telling us there were very few people there.
Barzee: There wasn't anybody there in New York City. The spirits were felt. Brian even felt to stand up and welcome the spirits there.
Steele: So you played for the spirits?
Steele: What was the program you played?
Barzee: It was the same program in the three recitals that I played in 1994.
Steele: Your honor, this might be a good place to stop.
Judge: All right, we'll stop for the day.
To read a letter written by Brian David Mitchell, visit http://extras.sltrib.com/ATTRG4UA.pdf
See more about comments here.