Lead Prosecutor In Smart Case Believes Barzee Story Is Not Over

Sep 11, 2018, 10:36 PM | Updated: Sep 12, 2018, 1:11 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A man who was once the lead prosecutor in the Elizabeth Smart case said Tuesday he wasn’t sure if convicted kidnapper Wanda Barzee’s scheduled release on Sept. 19 will mark the end of the story.

“Emotionally, I thought, ‘boy, that’s a quick sentence,” said Kent Morgan, a former prosecutor with the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office. “Do we want Wanda Barzee out in public again? What’s the assurance that the potential victims out there are safe from her? I know that the Board of Pardons and the people in the penal system look at those same things, too, and they’ve made their decision and I respect that. What my emotion continues to tell me, though, is this isn’t over.”

The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole announced earlier Tuesday that it had to give Barzee credit for federal time served, moving up her expected release date from as far away as 2024, to just eight days away.

“This is not a discretionary release,” Utah Board of Pardons and Parole director of administrative services Greg Johnson said. “In many cases, the board will hold a hearing and based on the person’s readiness and the sentencing guidelines may release a person on parole. (In) this case, the board has held her as long as it legally can.”

Johnson said the board had previously been operating under the understanding that Barzee’s time spent in federal prison did not count toward her state sentence, but a recent legal review changed the board’s view.

More: Woman Who Helped Kidnap Elizabeth Smart Will Be Released

Fellow convicted kidnapper Brian David Mitchell is currently serving a life sentence in federal prison.

Morgan said his review of evidence and testimony showed Barzee played an equal role in the abduction and abuse of Smart.

“She was a terrible person who caused injury and abuse to Elizabeth Smart just as much as Brian David Mitchell,” Morgan said. “She participated in the abuse of Elizabeth Smart — she didn’t just stand and watch.”

Related: Elizabeth Smart Releases Statement On Release Of Wanda Barzee

Morgan expressed concern about Barzee’s potential to reoffend, or to violate the terms of her supervised release.

The release extends for a term of 60 months and requires Barzee to register as a sex offender, to undergo mental health treatment, and to take whatever medications she is prescribed.

Barzee’s attorney said he was confident in the plan for the woman going forward.

“I hope for the benefit of Wanda and society through the supervision of federal services,” the attorney, Scott Williams, said.

Morgan said the Smart case is one he still reflects on and will never forget.

“To this day, I think about Elizabeth Smart and how she stood up to the great evil that was against her,” Morgan said.

KSL 5 TV Live


yellow tape crossing blue and red lights...

Associated Press

Body parts of 2 people found in Long Island park and police are trying to identify them

Police on New York's Long Island were trying to identify human remains found in a popular suburban park that appear to be from a man and a woman.

15 hours ago

Pair of handcuffs on a black bacthroom...

Alexander Campbell

Washington County man calls police on self, gets arrested for stolen firearms

A teenager is off the streets after calling in to St. George Police and giving them his approximate location Friday, leading to a guns-drawn arrest.

1 day ago

Two victims in a Hit-and-run in Sugarhouse speak to KSL News on Friday. (Emma Benson, KSL News)...

Emma Benson

Sugar House hit and run victims speak out

Two Sugar House women are speaking out after they were involved in a hit-and-run.

1 day ago

A picture of the dead, Provo Police officer Joseph Shinners, that was being used in the courtroom o...

Emily Ashcraft,

Attorneys urge jury to consider intent in trial for man accused of murdering Provo officer

The trial for the man accused of murdering Joseph Shinners began Friday. Matt Hoover's attorneys said he meant to shoot himself that fateful day, not Shinners.

1 day ago

Layton High School (KSL TV)...

Michael Houck

Layton High School student in custody after being found with a gun on school grounds

Police arrested a student after he was found with a weapon while at Layton High School Friday morning.

1 day ago


Alexander Campbell

Second man arrested in Logan child rape sting in a month

A 27-year-old man is behind bars in Cache County after attempting to traffic who he believed was a 9-year-old girl, using the same methods that Logan police used to arrest another person on Feb. 7

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Lead Prosecutor In Smart Case Believes Barzee Story Is Not Over