Wanda Barzee, the wife of Brian David Mitchell who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart and hold her hostage for nine months, will be released from prison next week after serving her entire sentence. I plan to speak publicly in the coming days once I have a better understanding.
The surprise move announced Tuesday comes after authorities determined they had miscalculated the time 72-year-old Wanda Barzee previously served in federal custody.
Scott C. Williams, who was Barzee's trial attorney, said in June after Barzee's parole hearing that he was concerned that the plea deal they had agreed to wasn't being followed.
Barzee and Brian Mitchell were arrested in 2003 for kidnapping Elizabeth Smart, and Barzee pleaded guilty in federal court in November of 2009. "The Smarts are incredibly good people, they are kind, and compassionate and forgiving, but they are also determined to never allow horror such as what occurred previously to ever darken their doorstep again-they believe Wanda Barzee still presents a real danger to society, and it's unfathomable that she's going to be free and walking the streets unchecked once again".
Smart remained their captive for nine months, time during which she was raped by the husband, forced to smoke and drink and watch the couple having sex.
The letter states that "Upon further advice from legal counsel, the Board must count time spent in federal custody toward Ms. Barzee's state sentence".
In a statement, Smart said she is "surprised and disappointed" by the decision. "Therefore, Ms. Barzee's state sentence ends on September 19, 2018", according to a statement from the Board of Pardons and Parole.
Mitchell is serving two life term sentences in federal prison for kidnapping and sexual assault.
In 2010, Barzee was sentenced to consecutive 15-year sentences for the federal and state charges. She was transferred to the Utah state prison in April 2016 after finishing a federal sentence in Texas.
She went on to add that 'I appreciate the support, the love, and concern that has been expressed and I will work diligently to address the issue of Barzee's release and to ensure changes are made moving forward to ensure this does not happen to anyone else in the future'. She has refused to meet with a psychiatrist at the Utah prison despite pleading "guilty but mentally ill" for the attempted kidnapping, according to the newspaper.
Elizabeth Smart is a child safety activist and ABC News contributor who came to national attention in 2002 when she was abducted from her Salt Lake City, Utah home.
The reversal of that decision not to grant credit for time served ultimately means Barzee's sentence will be complete and she will be released on September 19.