Elizabeth Smart defendant suffers seizure in court

Former street preacher charged with kidnapping falls to floor just as jury is called in for new day of testimony

Published November 30, 2010 4:20PM (EST)

The former street preacher charged with kidnapping and assaulting Elizabeth Smart suffered an apparent seizure in the courtroom Tuesday.

Paramedics rushed inside the courtroom to attend to Brian David Mitchell, who was moaning and lying on the floor.

The incident happened just as the jury was about to get called into the courtroom for another day of testimony.

Mitchell's former stepdaughter, Rebecca Woodridge, says the defendant has been housed in a jail medical unit recently because of seizure issues.

His attorneys don't dispute that Smart was abducted from her home at knifepoint and held captive, but contend that Mitchell is mentally ill and can't be held responsible for the crimes.

On a daily basis, Mitchell has been disrupting court proceedings with hymn singing, and once yelled at a state court judge to "repent." Mitchell did not sing any hymns Tuesday.

Smart was 14 when she was abducted from her home at knifepoint on June 5, 2002. She was recovered nine months later disguised in wig and sunglasses and walking a suburban Salt Lake City street with Mitchell.

Now 23, Smart has testified that she was forced to enter a polygamous marriage with Mitchell, endured near daily rapes, was forced to use drugs and alcohol, and was taken to California against her will.

By Jennifer Dobner

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