Transcript: Mitchell's family testifies in Elizabeth Smart kidnap trial

The Salt Lake Tribune/November 17, 2010

By Cimaron Neugebauer and Erin Alberty

Brian David Mitchell's father took the stand Wednesday in U.S. District Court to tell the jury about his childhood and family situation growing up.

Homeless advocate Pamela Atkinson also spoke about her interactions with Mitchell.

Mitchell is accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart in 2002. He and his wife, Wanda Barzee, allegedly held Smart captive and sexually abused her for nine months before she was found with the pair on a Sandy street in 2003. Barzee, who has pleaded guilty in the case, is expected to testify this week.

The prosecution has rested its case in chief, leaving the defense to present its case that Mitchell is not guilty by reason of insanity. After that, the prosecutors will bring forward rebuttal witnesses to contest the defense claims. The trial is scheduled to last through mid-December.

The Tribune is providing this transcript of Wednesday's proceedings via its reporters at the courthouse. Every effort is made to provide timely and accurate accounts of what is said during the trial, and this story will be updated frequently.

For past stories and transcripts from the trial, including the three-day testimony of Elizabeth Smart, visit

Mitchell enters the courtroom singing "It came upon a midnight clear," then shifted into "Hark! the Herald Angels sing" and half a dozen other Christmas songs.

Court Recorder: All rise for Judge

Judge Dale Kimball: We are here this morning for the U.S. v Brian David Mitchell.

[To defense] Are your witnesses here?

Defense: Yes, your honor.

Judge Kimball: We will get the jury and proceed.

[Mitchell continues to sing while the jury is brought in.]

Judge Kimball: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We apologize for the delay. Mr. Mitchell, you have the Constitutional right to be present unless you continue to sing, and then you will not be present. All right, you will be taken to a room where you can hear and see us.

[Mitchell sings on his way out.]

Judge Kimball: We will proceed when he gets there. ... You may proceed Mr. Steele.

Defense attorney Robert Steele: We will call Shirl Mitchell to the stand.

Judge Kimball: Come forward and be sworn please, right here in front of the clerk of court.

[Shirl Mitchell moves up in a walker.]

Mitchell: I had to go back to get my hearing aids. My name is Shirl V Mitchell, V as in victory. S-H-I-R-L ... V as in victory ... M-I-T-C-H-E-L-L.

Judge. Mr. Mitchell, could you pull that mic down a little closer to you?

Mitchell: Sorry to be such a prima donna on the late entrance.

Steele: Can you hear me?

Mitchell: Very clearly.

Steele: Did you have a hard time getting here?

Mitchell: I told the taxi driver where I needed to go. I told him courthouse. I guess I should have told him the street address. I didn't know it. (He was taken to the wrong courthouse.)

Steele: What is your relation to Brian David Mitchell?

Mitchell: Son. He is my son.

Steele: I heard you once referred to him as Peck's bad son. What did you mean by that?

Mitchell: The name escapes me, I was going to give you the synonym.

Steele: What makes you say that?

Mitchell: There are a whole series of alienation incidents from the time he was probably in the womb. There was psychological circumstances. I was deer hunting when he was born. I believe she may have resented me for that. We would go swimming and he would act out. There would be altercations. When he was chastised for it we would have to chase him down.

Steele: How old was he?

Mitchell: 10 or 12.

Steele: When you say altercation, what do you mean?

Mitchell: He was always teasing. He teased his little sister. I think that lead to his alienation.

Steel: He jumped out of the car. How fast was it going?

Mitchell: Well when it was at a stop sign ...

Steele: How long did it take to get him?

Mitchell: A few minutes.

Steele: Is there an incident at Rose Park?

Mitchell: Yes, there was one morning, I lost my patience. I hauled him off to Rose Park and left him. I will never do that now, it was an impulsive thing to do. I am an impulsive person.

Steele: How old was he?

Mitchell: 9 or 10.

Steele: Some Japanese tourists gave him some money to take his picture at the Capitol?

Mitchell: He made it home. He came home around dark.

Steele: Where were you living at the time?

Mitchell: Canyon View Drive.

Steele: Is three a time you engaged in sex education with Brian?

Mitchell: Yes. It was ill-advised, because I knew better. I was not always careful about things. I had a old-fashioned book and diagrams of male and female genitalia. He got in trouble playing doctor with other kids in the neighborhood.

Steele: How old was he?

Mitchell: Oh, probably 8 or 9.

Steele: Did you educate other children that way?

Mitchell: No. I believe it was a laissez-faire sort of thing.

Steele: How many children do you have?

Mitchell: Six. One is deceased.

Steele: Who are they?

Mitchell: Kayleen, she's 60 now. Kevin, a year younger. Brian, he is about 2 years younger than Kayleen, the oldest. Then the next one is Laurie. She is the deceased sibling. Then Lisa. Then Tim, the youngest.

Steele: Laurie is the one he teased?

Mitchell: Yes.

Steele: How old was she when she died?

Mitchell: 45.

[Holds up an exhibit.]

Mitchell: This is my six children and myself.

Steele: I think that is not where we are.

Mitchell: What was that?

Steele: We put up the wrong picture. We are going to put it on the screen and see if you could identify it.

(He identifies it.)

Steele: What kind of relationship did Brian have with his siblings?

Mitchell: I can't remember. The relationship with Laurie kind of overshadows everything. It was a constant sibling battle between them. She still continued to whine if she wanted something. It was kind of unfortunate, but that is the way she was. The others, I don't think it was so exacerbated as [hers].

Steele: What did you and your wife do in response?

Mitchell: My wife flew to the defense of the younger girl. It wasn't too effective, because we had to separate Brian to his grandmother's house. Brian is a very intelligent person, and he used that to the full extent. And he used that to his advantage for harassment of the other children and my wife.

Steele: Did they actually come to blows?

Mitchell: Yes they did.

Steele: What happened?

Mitchell: We stayed at my mother's house at 13th East and 13th South. He went to East High School. He took advantage of it. He didn't go to school most the time. He would stay at my mother's house. He would steam up the bath tub like a sauna.

Steele: Didn't he graduate?

Mitchell: No, he had to get the G - oh, something or other -

Steele: A G.E.D.?

Mitchell: Yeah that.

Steele: Did you separate soon after that?

Mitchell: Our separation? It is hard to seize these things from my memory.

Steele: Was there an incident that got Brian in juvenile court.

Mitchell: The incident where Brian exposed himself to a girl. That took him to juvenile court. That lead to further alienation.

Steele: What after that?

Mitchell: I had to take him to counselors. I had to take him to appointments. It was an attempt at rehabilitation.

Steele: Did you go with him?

Mitchell: No, I would just drop him off.

Steele: You are retired now?

Mitchell: Yes.

Steele: What was your occupation?

Mitchell: I was a social worker in family relations. I was an assistant payments worker.

Steele: In adult protective services?

Mitchell: Well, it wasn't adult protection. It was assistance to the older and disabled.

Steele: (Exhibit Q is held up) Mr. Mitchell, what is that? Do you recognize it?

Mitchell: Yes, that is the volume of the Spokesman of Our Infant Goddess. I started out in my teenage years as agnostic and as athiest beliefs. I am currently deciding whether or not to print the last part of it. Which is basically the same as what is in there.

Steele: When you weren't at work, what did you spend time doing?

Mitchell: Well, I did a lot of work on this book. My ex-wife was critical of that and said if I didn't move this stuff out of the house and if ... and what else was I going to say?

Steele: This is the spokesman of the infant goddess. What is the spokesman?

Mitchell: I am.

Steele: What does the infant goddess mean?

Mitchell: (inaudible) In the book, I propose a super magnetic being that can take an impression of that person. I don't believe of that idea of a spirit being that can remember us as a personality (anymore).

Steele: What are your two best ideas in your book?

Mitchell: The primary idea is a very pragmatic idea that deals with nutrition. The second, the major of theme is on reproduction. Our continuity is reproduction. Those two things are at the root of everything. I detail that in my books. That hasn't changed. That is the same.

Steele: You have an interest in nutrition?

Mitchell: ... Certain chemicals produce mucus in the system. The whole science is developed. Brian is actually involved with Mr. West in lymphology, which is moving hands over the body ...

Steele: Did you share this interest with your son early on?

Mitchell: I didn't deny it. I shared this importance of nutrition on the body with him.

Steele: What is the most important?

Mitchell: The largest is fruits and vegetables. My wife didn't prescribe to it, so we had a pretty balanced spectrum of foods.

Steele: What did Brian do with this information?

Mitchell: He went overboard, of course. He made fruit juices. I made a lot of apple, grape and carrot juice.

Steele: When Brian was arrested, did you do something with your book?

Mitchell: No. That book has been kind of hermetically sealed. It is kind of self-sustaining...

Steele: Did you approach someone at ABC about your book?

Mitchell: I wrote a letter and sent a comment to that place about my book.

Steele: What was the point of doing that?

Mitchell: I dunno, maybe there was a selfish motive involved...or it would produce enough prestige to get Brian some salutory attention. To tell you the truth, I'm not so clear on what my motive was.

Steele: When you were 7 or 8, did you have an unusual experience?

Mitchell: Yes, I was...

Prosecution: Objection your honor. Relevance?

Judge Kimball: How is this relevant?

Steele: He will testify that it leads to this book and some of the ideas.

Judge Kimball: I'll permit it. I think it's of marginal relevance, but go ahead.

Mitchell: I had a thing that was totally out of context. The only context I had was the Bible storybooks that my parents bought me and my brothers. I had no direct reference to Jesus as God or Christ, but I had a voice speak in my head. I was in my grandma's house...I was playing hide and seek. I remember this big flour barrel in this cupboard or pantry. There was nothing around, no sound, and a voice said, "You are Christ." I attributed no importance to it other than it was so unique that I did remember it happening. But I didn't repeat it to anybody. I just thought I remembered...I never had familiar spirits or companions like some kids get. I thought maybe something out there thought I had a unique talent for something or another, which would give me that nom de plume. Like I say, I haven't used that as a motivation for my book at all. That was more or less incidental and just remembered.

Steele : [The] notion of being a spokesman? [Do you] connect that to the earlier feeling?

Mitchell: Being a spokesman was the sum total of all my intellectualizing and my thinking. It was a product of that rather than some mystical experience or ESP experience.

Steele: I apologize your honor.

Judge Kimball: The jury will disregard.

Steele: Your honor, there will be comments. Well, I'll address that as the experts talk. I think it may still have some relevance.

Steele: Did you read Brian's book?

Mitchell: Yes, I read that little essay he wrote. It wasn't a book. Just a piece of what, maybe 20 pages or so.

Steele: Did he present it to you?

Mitchell: Yes, he gave me a copy.

Steele: What was your response to him?

Mitchell: I didn't comment on it. I didn't discuss it with him. We've had discussions on theology in general, but not that particular aspect of it. The plural life or what they call it? I can't remember the name of the principle now.

Steele: Your father, Franklin, had some mental health problems. What were the nature of those problems?

Mitchell: He overemphasized the legalities...he was in litigation his mother before him was in litigation.

A storekeeper challenged one of the children for pilfering off the store - apples or something - and she took him. The mother of the boy took the store owner for court on that little thing. He may have grabbed him and told him not to steal. This litiginous [sic] property in the family is long-standing.

My father sued Lagoon because he got hit in the back of the head by one of those sleds they have out there.

Steele: What was the upshot of this?

Mitchell: My father was the manager of CIT Corporation for the western states. He was a brilliant man, financially. He gave some advice to the owners back East. It was kind of a disputed thing because they fired him and they blackballed him in that business. He wasn't able to get that kind of work again. He used to refer to that years and years later. I used to be the man with the CIT Corp.

Steele: Did he end up at the Utah State Hospital?

Mitchell: He was very exaggerated in his demand when he'd sued people.

I remember reading that he'd sued All in Sundry for a billion dollars. He did tangle with the political machine in Salt Lake. I learned about him later. I worked with him as a welder for a short period of time. He was very inept in some ways...I couldn't teach him. He didn't do it right. I saw that other side of him. He would criticize and take people to court, especially businesses. He bought a lemon car and sued the manufacturers of that lemon car. He hid the car out. Finally they repossessed it. They were petty things, to me. He overreacted to things. He was always typing letters at home. Copies and copies, pounding on that typewriter.

Steele: Did you have some extensive conversations with your son?

Mitchell: Not on his personal problems. On a theological basis, yes. I never braced him about his own problems much. I never was explicit about those things.

Steele: But you had some extensive conversations about philosophy.

Mitchell: And religion. He held pretty much to the line of the LDS Church. He was a zealot and rabid about that. He was pouring over Mormon scriptures...It was a zealot and rabid person that led to these delusions that he was Immanuel.

Steele: Of all your children, what special connection did you and Brian have?

Mitchell: I didn't have too much connection, and maybe that's the trouble. He sort of isolated himself in his own little word, you know. He wasn't very responsive to me or my instruction or correction.

Steele: Was anyone else interested in your ideas or talking to you about those? Your children?

Mitchell: Tim. Tim has discussed things with me, although he hasn't accepted them. He's a pretty orthodox LDS person. He's tried to get me to accept the LDS tenets.

It hasn't alienated me or rebuffed me or anything. I've been willing to continue to discuss it with him.

Steele: Do you remember at the time of the greatest conflict between Brian and his mother, any accusations Brian had about the food?

Mitchell: Well that's one of the big bones of contention. I didn't witness it personally, but i have it on witnesses of my other siblings.

Prosecution: Objection.

Judge Kimball: Sustained.

Steele: That's all I have, your honor.

Diana Hagen: Good morning, Mr. Mitchell. You indicated you are a retired social worker for social workers, is that right?

Mitchell: Right.

Hagen: Did that consist of working with other clients?

Mitchell: I wasn't in a (major) role. I helped get walkers, do some things.

Hagen: Did your success help with other clients?

Mitchell: Yes, I had to help people, and they had geriatric requirements.

Hagen: You held that job for 30 years, is that right?

Mitchell: Not quite 20 years. I had six years of state work.

Hagen: You had six children?

Mitchell: Yes.

Hagen: Did you're family move around a lot?

Mitchell: Not a lot, we had four or five apartments.

Hagen: You said you built your own home?

Mitchell: Yes.

Hagen: You have a college degree?

Mitchell: Yes, a BS...Clinical psychology. I was interested in science.

Hagen: What is your degree in?

Mitchell: I have a BS degree in philosophy.

Hagen: You mentioned your father. What did he do for a living?

Mitchell: He was a businessman. His offices were in New York. They lended money to car dealers. And he was super at that. He kept the book on that.

Hagen: Did he later work as a salesman?

Mitchell: Yes.

Hagen: Was it a door-to-door job?

Mitchell: Yes, oftentimes.

Hagen: You mention your book and that contains your philosophy, yes?

Mitchell: Yes.

Hagen: Is it fair to say that you have a conventional role as a spiritual salesman?

Mitchell: Not really. In another realm of reality.

Hagen: But you feel you have a special role to play?

Mitchell: Yes, I think I have an important role to people and depressing ideas to humanity.

Hagen: When did you start these ideas?

Mitchell: I did an essay in high school. I did a lot of research in England when I was in the Army. One thing led to another, and the ideas were kind of infectious. And I got a lot of insights then, and I never got the same insights. It was amazing.

Hagen: When your children were growing up, did you talk about this with your children?

Mitchell: They were very sophisticated. They were over their head. They were going to LDS Church.

Hagen: Did you ever discuss your idea with Brian?

Mitchell: No.

Hagen: You never discussed them with Brian?

Mitchell: No, never as an adult.

Hagen: You expressed your interest in nutrition?

Mitchell: Yes, I discussed it very much in my book.

Hagen: You discussed a fruitivore or herbivorous diet? You shared your view on nutrition when they were in the home, right?

Mitchell: Pragmatically, I set the example in the home because we had salad and other fruits.

Hagen: Did Brian subscribe to what you said?

Mitchell: Yes, I think he did.

Hagen: Are you aware he later used the name of Shirlson?

Mitchell: Yes.

Hagen: And that was a tribute to you?

Mitchell: I don't know. I never asked him whether it was or not.

Hagen: He adopted your diet?

Mitchell: No.

Hagen: He even wrote his own book.

Mitchell: He wrote his own book? I never knew that.

Hagen: Have you ever been treated for mental illness?

Mitchell: No, oh no.

Hagen: You testify your son got in trouble for playing doctor with the neighbors. He was 8 or 9?

Mitchell: Yes, well, maybe younger.

Hagen: When he was 16 he was arrested for sexual acts with a 16-year-old.

Mitchell: You are putting a spin on that. The person was 3 or 4 years old. I don't know if it was sexual acts being solicited. He exposed his privates to the girl.

Hagen: Did he make her or ask her to touch his penis?

Mitchell: I don't know the detail on that.

Hagen: You talked about Brian teasing sisters at times. Do you think he was clever boy?

Mitchell: Yeah he was very ingenious.

Hagen: Was he able to figure out what bothered his siblings?

Mitchell: I don't know.

Hagen: Did he exploit the vulnerabilities of his siblings?

Mitchell: What do you mean by exploited?

Hagen: Do you think he tried...

Mitchell: Um your words kind of jumble, try to stretch them out...

Hagen: OK, do you think he tried to bug them?

Mitchell: He just did what got their goats.

Hagen: Do you think he enjoyed getting their goats?

Mitchell: Probably, he was an isolated boy.

Hagen: You said he took advantage of things when he was at the school by his grandmother's. Did he often try to take advantage of her when he could?

Mitchell: I wasn't privy to his antics. So I could summarize things.

Hagen: One moment your honor. I have no more questions.

Judge Kimball: You may step down, Mr. Mitchell. I assume this witness may be excused.

[Mitchell is excused]

Judge Kimball: You may call your next witness.

[Pamela Atkinson is sworn in and takes the stand.]

Audrey James: Ms. Atkinson, are you currently employed?

Pamela Atkinson: No.

James: What did you do?

Atkinson: I was the vice president of services at Intermountain Health Care. I volunteer and workw ith low-income families, and I work with the Gov. [Gary] Herbert campaign. I work with schools who work with low-income children.

James: Do you continue that work now that you are retired?

Atkinson: Yes.

James: What kinds of work do you do?

Atkinson: Mainly families that are homeless. I help refugees and help them become self-sufficient.

James: Through your volunteering, and doing what you do with homeless outreach, did you go do that with Mr. Mitchell?

Atkinson: Yes.

James: When was that?

Atkinson: I would see him at the Salvation Army in the late 1990s.

James: Did he go by Mitchell?

Atkinson: I knew him as Immanuel.

James: Did he come alone?

Atkinson: No, he came with a woman.

James: Who was that?

Atkinson: Her name was Wanda.

James: Ms. Barzee?

Atkinson: Yes.

James: Did you hear he was called something other than Immanuel?

Atkinson: I would hear various things through the grapevine.

James: May I approach your honor?

Judge Kimball: You may.

[Holds up Exhibit G]

James: Who is this person?

Atkinson: This is the person I knew that called himself Immanuel.

James: Is that the person you knew as Mr. Mitchell. The same hair, same attire?

Atkinson: Yes.

James: First, describe what your interactions were with Mr. Mitchell.

Atkinson: I saw him as the Salvation Army. We feed homeless people. I would take various groups down there. The matron of the Salvation Army asked me to stand at the door. He let me know that if I shook hands with the homeless, it might be the only time they get touched that week. I really liked that. Not everyone would take my hand. Immanuel didn't.

James: Did you say anything to him?

Atkinson: I would say hello and he would just move on.

James: They didn't sit near him. Why?

Atkinson: They saw him as a religious fanatic. A lot of my homeless friends had trouble and didn't want to be preached at.

James: Through your voluminous work with the homeless, do you have the opportunity to work with those that are mentally ill?

Atkinson: Through some of the colleagues, I am told a person has a certain diagnosis. But I am not an expert and I rely on the people I work with to tell me that.

James: Did you ever suspect that Mr. Mitchell had a mental illness?

Atkinson: At first, I thought that, but I figured it was his religious eccentricities.

James: Did you think he had a mental illness?

Atkinson: I just don't have the expertise in that.

James: Did you ever hear Mr. Mitchell speaking with other people?

Atkinson: I only saw him preaching.

James: That's what I'm asking.

Atkinson: He would say he was Immanuel and everybody needed to be saved. ... The only time he would talk to me was when he was panhandling on Main Street. I only asked what his needs were. His needs were a hygiene kit, socks, and that was all he wanted.

James: But you did observe him talking with other homeless people, and the primary thing he was doing was preaching to them.

Atkinson: I wouldn't say he was talking WITH other homeless people. He was just preaching as they walked by.

James: Would you describe it as an interaction ... or him mostly talking at them?

Atkinson: Just talking.

James: Would he listen to them? Would it be back and forth conversation?

Atkinson: Occasionally I could see that, but I wasn't there to overhear what he was saying.

James: Was he ever offered any help?

Atkinson: We offer all of our homeless friends help in whatever needs they might have, but I'm not aware of any mental health help that was offered to him.

Judge Kimball: Mr. Viti, you may cross examine.

Prosecutor Felice Viti: Atkinson with an "n"?

Atkinson: Yes.

Viti: It seem like after hearing your resume, you've devoted your life to the homeless.

Atkinson: Basically to anyone who has a need, yes. There has been a focus on homelessness, yes.

Viti: The homeless have many, many needs.

Atkinson: Absolutely.

Viti: And you care very deeply about the homeless and their needs. Is that correct?

Atkinson: Absolutely.

Viti: And in all your experience with the homeless and your [care] of the homeless, you're very aware there are many causes of homelessness. Financial?

Atkinson: Yes.

Viti: People who have very bad luck in life? Is that correct?

Atkinson: Yes.

Viti: People who maybe are irresponsible and don't want a home or the responsibility of living in society. Is that correct?

Atkinson: Yes.

Viti: People who have mental illnesses. Is that correct?

Atkinson: Yes.

Viti: Now, at The Salvation Army, when you greeted people to touch them, to give them a human contact, many people would not offer their hands to you would they?

Atkinson: Quite a few would not, yes.

Viti: During your time observing Mr. Mitchell with ... withdrawn ... Did you ever see Mr. Mitchell with Miss Barzee?

Atkinson: Only at The Salvation Army.

Viti: Did you ever personally try to speak with Miss Barzee?

Atkinson: Yes.

Viti: Did she respond?

Atkinson: No.

Viti: Did you ever see Miss Barzee, during your time, with a face veil?

Atkinson: No.

Viti: In your experience with homeless people, isn't it true that many homeless don't give you their real names?

Atkinson: They often do not at the beginning until they learn to trust me.

Viti: And did you ... at the beginning, they'll give you an alias or false name?

Atkinson: It depends. Some do and some don't.

Viti: You stated that you saw Mr. Mitchell speaking to homeless people, or at least observe them. There were a number of homeless people who didn't shy away from Mr. Mitchell?

Atkinson: There were some, yes.

Viti: You testified that Mr. Mitchell on occasion would say something to you. Would he converse with you?

Atkinson: Just the one occasion on Main Street when he was panhandling.

Viti: And that was because you were going to offer him something?

Atkinson: We had driven down Main Street in the outreach van. We pulled over and asked him how he was and if he needed anything.

Viti: He responded when you said "do you need anything?" When you greeted other homeless people at the door at The Salvation Army there were other people who would look away from you, would not make eye contact with you.

Atkinson: That has happened over the years, yes.

Viti: That's very common with homeless people?

Atkinson: It can be. There are many reasons for it. Whatever the reason ... I just smile ... and move on.

Viti: I have no further questions.

Judge Kimball: Redirect, Miss James?

James: Miss Atkinson, you say that Miss Barzee wouldn't speak to you either.

Did you ever see Mr. Mitchell attempt to prevent her from speaking to you?

Atkinson: No, she would just walk right past me.

James: Did Mr. Mitchell stand out to you in particular?

Atkinson: Only because of the way he dressed, so it was easy to spot him, and because of being this religious eccentric. We don't have too many religious eccentrics among our homeless friends.

James: Could one of the reasons that the homeless people don't make eye contact with you ... is when they are mentally ill?

Atkinson: There are so many diagnoses. Sometimes it's just fear. Sometimes it's just lack of trust. It's been amazing to me the number of people who didn't make eye contact, didn't shake hands with me, later did because they learned to trust. Immanuel did have eye contact, he just didn't want to shake my hand.

Judge: The witness has been excused.

The defense calls Lisa Bishop Holbrook.

[Holbrook is sworn in and takes the stand]

Robert Steele: What is your relationship to Brian David Mitchell?

Lisa Holbrook: I'm his younger sister.

Steele: What's the age difference between the two of you?

Holbrook: I don't even remember. I'm 51.

Steele: Half a dozen years younger?

Holbrook: Yes.

Steele: What did you feel your relationship with him was like when you were little?

Holbrook: Um, I remember feeling that I was a special little sister to him. He taught me how to ride a bike. He was mischievous and liked to tease a lot, but it wasn't malicious.

Steele: How did he tease you.?

Holbrook: He put labels on us. My sister was a skinny beanpole, and I was chubby. Things like that.

Steele: Now, did he tease you often?

Holbrook: Um, probably, yeah. [laughs].

Steele: Did he always tease you? Were there other things -

Holbrook: No, no.

Steele: What was your parents' marriage like when you were little?

Holbrook: Um, it was usually in turmoil. Um. There was fighting. Not always. Off and on.

Steele: When you say fighting, what do you mean?

Holbrook: Arguments.

Steele: Do you remember what the arguments were about?

Holbrook: No. Not now.

Steele: Did that have any effect on you when you were growing up?

Holbrook: I think I felt, me personally, I think I felt a little neglected. I was kind of a quiet child. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and I wasn't the squeaky wheel.

Steele: Who was the squeaky wheel?

Holbrook: Brian generally was the one who drew a lot of attention, a lot of drama.

Steele: Was that from the teasing or something else?

Holbrook: That was probably part of it. He was usually teasing someone. As a little kid, that's how I remember it. As I got into my teenage years, I remember, you know, that he'd create a lot more drama by acting out. You know, just being noncompliant, breaking the rules, causing trouble.

Steele: Do you remember a time when he was an adolescent and getting into a lot of trouble?

Holbrook: Yeah.

Steele: What kind of trouble?

Holbrook: I dunno. My memory has faded a lot. But um, I just remember general contention going on, and, um, it's been a long time.

Steele: Did his teasing change when he was an adolescent?

Holbrook: Not to me. I don't remember it being focused on me. I remember just him fighting with my parents, and a time when he went to live with my grandma because they just felt like they couldn't handle him. There was a time when I think he was in juvenile detention. I don't know.

Steele: Do you remember his first marriage?

Holbrook: Yes, I was a teenager when Karen got pregnant and she came to live with us, and, um, and they got married I think soon before Travis was born or soon after. I can't remember exactly.

Steele: Do you remember about how old they were?

Holbrook: I think Karen was around 16. I'm not sure. Brian was 18 or 19, something like that.

Steele: How long did they live with your family?

Holbrook: I don't remember specifically. I remember changing Travis' diapers. I was around 13 or 14. At least that's what I remember. I don't remember specifically how long they lived with us. It seemed over the years Brian came and went.

Steele: How many children did they have?

Holbrook: Two.

Steele: And what are the names of the kids?

Holbrook: Travis and Angela.

Steele: Were they living in your parents' home with both kids?

Holbrook: You know, I remember them living in our home when the kids were older. I remember when Travis was a baby, and I remember when I don't remember them living there when Angie was a baby.

Steele: When they were living in your home.

Holbrook: They came back over when the kids were older.

Steele: How would take care of the kids?

Holbrook: Um, you know it was probably everybody. My mom a lot, and Brian did.

Steele: What kind of parents were Karen and Brian?

Holbrook: [sigh] Looking back from my perspective now, at the time I was just a teenager, and wasn't analyzing what kind of parents they were. But (pause) not the greatest parents I suppose.

Steele: Why?

Holbrook: They were both kind of messed up themselves.

Steele: How were they messed up?

Holbrook: Drinking, you know they were teenagers and partying and wanting to have fun, I think.

Steele: You've raised a number of kids yourself.

Holbrook: Yes.

Steele: How many kids?

Holbrook: 10.

Steele: Do you remember at some point their divorce?

Holbrook: I don't specifically remember their divorce. I remember custody issues. What I remember is that Brian was supposed to show up for a custody hearing, and he just took off with the kids. As bad a parent as he probably was, Karen was worse. At the time it's, you know, he thought he could do better and took of with the kids rather than deal with the custody.

Steele: How long a time was he gone?

Holbrook: I don't know, but it was years. We didn't know where he was for years and then we found out it was New Hampshire. I don't know how long that period was.

Steele: Do you remember how old he was when he came back?

Holbrook: I know I was about 21. I don't know how old he was. That would make him 27 or something like that.

Steele: What was he like when he came back?

Holbrook: What I remember was that he was very, he had a very dark countenance. Very long hair, just did not seem healthy spiritually, emotionally or physically. He just, I remember him asking me for money, and I figured it was probably for cigarettes or alcohol. It just seemed that's the overall impression I remember. Just dark.

Steele: Do you remember that changing?

Holbrook: Yes.

Steele: Do you remember how long after he came back that changed?

Holbrook: Um, just approximately, I'm guessing within a year.

Steele: What was the change you saw?

Holbrook: Um. [sigh] He became, there was a lightening of his countenance. He cleaned up, you know. And um, he was more happy and excited about life, and, um, interactive, and interested in other people and -

Steele: Did you notice anything about his drinking and smoking?

Holbrook: I believe he quit drinking and smoking at that time.

Steele: What contributed to this?

Holbrook: My brother Tim had come back from an LDS mission, and he was living at home and Brian was living at home. I was newly married, so I wasn't living at home.

Steele: So you don't necessarily, you don't have to tell us what happened with Tim. What happened afterward? What did Brian start doing that changed his life?

Holbrook: He went through a conversion process where he became active in the church. It seemed real, but it was a pretty drastic change from the lifestyle he'd been living. He got into herbal remedies, I remember that.

Steele: Anything else that you remember?

Holbrook: I just have one specific memory where I was nursing and I had a new baby. The baby needed to be in the light, so I went to my parents room because I was in a basement apartment. I had a breast infection, and he gave me a huge glass of golden silk tea, which is very bitter, but it got rid of the infection.

Steele: How long before he got married a second time?

Holbrook: Not too long. I don't remember what the time period was, but it was, in my opinion, too quick.

Steele: Why was it too quick?

Holbrook: He was too, he wasn't grounded, he didn't have a strong foundation. He was still too much of a newbie in the gospel.

Steele: Who was it that he married?

Holbrook: Debbie. I don't remember her previous name, her last name.

Steele: Did you see them together at the beginning of their marriage?

Holbrook: Yes.

Steele: How did this seem to go when you saw them at the beginning?

Holbrook: Pretty good.

Steele: What was good? What was not so good?

Holbrook: Well I liked Debbie, I think she was a person who tried to do what was right, the best. She knew how, and I think Brian was fairly dysfunctional and the combination of the two wasn't a good thing?

Steele: What gave you that impression? Why wasn't it a good thing?

Holbrook: The main thing was that I don't think they had the skills or abilities to handle it. And I think Travis and Angie started acting up and had been through a lot and been dragged across the county and ... and I just they acted up like kids will do, like kids do. And I don't think Debbie or Brian had the skills to handle the family.

Steele: Are you aware of what happened to Travis and Angie?

Holbrook: That they were put up for adoption? Is that what you're referring to?

Steele: Yes.

Holbrook: Yes, I am.

Steele: Did he get remarried?

Holbrook: Yes.

Steele: What was the space of time to the next marriage?

Holbrook: Not a lot. I think neither of his divorces was final for a very long time before he got married again.

Steele: Who did he marry?

Holbrook: Wanda.

Steele: What happened after a little while?

Holbrook: They sent a letter to the family that they had taken offense and said they wouldn't associate with the family. They did that and wouldn't talk to us.

Steele: What was going on after that?

Holbrook: I had moved to a new home. This is what I remember. There is probably gaps in my memory that I don't remember. But I do remember they called and asked if they could come out and visit. They came out and were friendly and wanted to talk to us about political things and wanted to talk to us about the unconstitutionality of paying taxes. They talked to us about Bo Gritz.

Steele: Do you remember any other topics they talked about?

Holbrook: They came to us a couple of times and talked to us about that. And then it was lymphology and then he was on a mission to teach lymphology to everyone he could.

Steele: Do you remember him talking about anything else?

Holbrook: No ... should I? (she laughs)

Steele: You are doing fine. Do you remember any other interactions that started happening?

Holbrook: The one thing with Brian - first with Debbie and then Wanda - he would be friendly and interactive with family and then he would take offense and it would usually go back and forth. I don't always remember the order of events. They bought a fifth-wheel trailer and moved to Idaho. I know when because I talked with Mr, West. I called because I wanted to tell them I had another baby.

Steele: You were trying to find them?

Holbrook: Yes.

Steele: Did the topics ever shift over to religion?

Holbrook: Yes, I am not sure when. He was wanting us to call Brian "Dah-veed." And he started wearing the robes, and I'm not sure when that happened. I think Wanda was Ella Dah. And then Brian was David and then Wanda was Hephzibah. And maybe it was backwards, I don't know.

Steele: Did they ever bring a book to you?

Holbrook: Right before they left, they brought a manifesto.

Steele: Did you read the book?

Holbrook: Yes.

Steele: What did you gather?

Holbrook: It was pretty incomprehensible. Not a lot. I didn't think there was very valuable information in it.

Steele: Are you a member of a church.

Holbrook: Yes, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Steele: What is your idea of [the book]?

Holbrook: It seemed like a perversion of concepts. It had references to polygamy and that Wanda would become a mother.

Steele: At some point during this were they living in your mother's home.

Holbrook: Yes.

Steele: What were they doing while there?

Holbrook: They were mostly panhandling. They would go down in the morning and panhandle and come back at night.

Steele: Did this cause friction?

Holbrook: Yes. I think my mother was uncomfortable.

Steele: Did she call you?

Holbrook: Yes, I kind of escalated it. She wanted them to leave. She is non-confrontational and wanted them to leave. I guess Brian had got physical, just holding her, and she felt threatened. So I called the police and police met me there and I helped her apply for a restraining order. And then we came back. I think the police gave him a certain amount of time to get out of the house.

Steele: What were they doing when you came back?

Holbrook: We just waited on the street. They were yelling hell fire and damnation to us, my husband and I. When we went inside, they had destroyed all their possessions.

Steele: Where was it that they had saw spoons?

Holbrook: In the garage, there was bent silverware, broken dishes. I don't remember. I think they even put water on stuff to wet things down.

Steele: Do you, um, was there some, well, do you remember the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart?

Holbrook: Yes.

Steele: How did that affect you?

Holbrook: Oh, probably like everybody else that saw it on the news, you know?

Steele: At some point did you call police?

Holbrook: Yes, um.

Steele: Do you remember about when that was?

Holbrook: No.

Steele: Why did you call?

Holbrook: My husband had been following the case more closely than me. He had been working at his brother's funeral home and saw Elizabeth playing harp at the funeral, and when he heard she was missing he felt a connection. So he followed it quite closely. He heard an news report that more news would be released.

Steele: Did you watch that news report?

Holbrook: I didn't.

Steele: What caused you to call police?

Holbrook: There was and article that described a handyman and we read it and we knew it was Brian. We looked at it and we called police and I said, "that is my brother."

Steele: Do you remember when that was that you called?

Holbrook: I didn't.

Judge Kimball: Thank you Mr. Steele. Ms. Cook, you may cross examine.

Alicia Cook: Good morning.

Holbrook: Hi.

Cook: Mrs. Holbrook, I want to talk with you about the situation with Travis and Angela. You mentioned they had been dragged back and forth across the country. Who was it that dragged them?

Holbrook: Brian.

Cook: And when Brian married Debbie, his second wife, and they had blended the family together, you were having some interaction with Brian and Debbie and the children at that time, correct?

Holbrook: There was a separation from the family where they took offense...There was interaction later.

Cook: You became aware there was a plan to put Travis and Angela up for adoption?

Holbrook: I found out after the fact.

Cook: It was your opinion that Debbie didn't have the skills to handle these children?

Holbrook: [inaudible]

Cook: I'm sorry, you have to answer out loud.

[Response inaudible to the audience]

Cook: You didn??t take this as an indication that your brother was mentally ill, right?

Holbrook: Um, I'm trying to remember if I did think of it at the time. Probably not, just dysfunctional.

Cook: In fact, it was your observation that Travis and Angela were acting up quite a bit.

Holbrook: Yes.

Cook: And it was your opinion these were two children who had been through quite a lot in their lives?

Holbrook: Yes.

Cook: When you were young growing up in the family was it fair to say your father focused on a healthy lifestyle?

Holbrook: Yes.

Cook: And he was very into eating healthfully?

Holbrook: Yes, and my mother as well.

Cook: You have described your father as being ahead of his time as far as a healthy diet.

Holbrook: Yes.

Cook: Did the rest of the children follow that diet as well?

Holbrook: It has definitely affected all of us. I think at as far as how we ... we haven't always followed a healthy diet, but it's part of who we are.

Cook: Did you agree with your father's view on diet?

Holbrook: Not always, but yeah.

Cook: When Brian was younger, when he was child, when he was a teenager, did he agreed with the diet?

Holbrook: Probably not. If he did, he didn't really live by it.

Cook: Do you recall he actually rebelled against that when he was younger?

Holbrook: I think he just rebelled in general. That would just be one thing.

Cook: One of many things ... do you recall Brian having trouble with cars?

Holbrook: With cars?

Cook: Did he have any difficulty riding in cars?

Holbrook: Not that I know of.

Cook: Not that you know of. When Brian was a teenager, do you remember describing him as basically just a typical teenager?

Holbrook: [Sigh] Well, um, no I don't remember. Did I say that?

Cook: You tell us.

Holbrook: I would say he probably got into a little more trouble than the typical teenager.

Cook: A little bit?

Holbrook: Maybe a lot.

Cook: Do you recall speaking with me a few weeks ago, telling me he was a typical teenager?

Holbrook: In some ways he probably was. He would try new things a lot. He would get big ideas, and go from one big idea to the next.

Cook: In having big ideas and going from one idea to the next, you found him to be a typical teenager in that. Is that what your'e saying?

Holbrook: You know, I don't know. I'm not sure how to answer that.

Cook: You have testified that Brian caused a lot of drama in your family.

Holbrook: Yes.

Cook: In fact, do you recall saying that he pulled your parents around?

Holbrook: I remember saying that I remember him pushing my mother.

Cook: Physically pushing your mother. Do you remember saying he pitted your parents against each other?

Holbrook: Yes.

Cook: Do you remember calling your brother manipulative?

Holbrook: Yes.

Cook: In fact, you said he's always been a manipulative person.

Holbrook: Yeah. Maybe not when he was little.

Cook: You also described him as clever and smart.

Holbrook: Yes.

Cook: You also said there were two Brians: One was-fun loving and a tease. The other was angry, combative and manipulative.

Holbrook: That's probably pretty accurate.

Cook: Do you also remember describing Brian as self-absorbed.

Holbrook: Off and on. There were times when he was interactive. I don't remember using that word, self-absorbed, but that's probably fairly accurate.

Cook: You've testified that the focus of the family was on him when you were young.

Holbrook: A lot of the time.

Cook: So much so that you felt neglected when you were a child.

Holbrook: Yeah, I think part of that was just my personality though.

Cook: When Brian became older, after he was married to Wanda, he came and talked to you and your husband about not paying taxes?

Holbrook: Yes. Those conversations were based on things he's viewing the constitution as supporting.

Cook: When he's talking to you about how we don't need to pay taxes. He's using the constitution as support for that.

Holbrook: I believe so.

Cook: In his statements to you about why you don't need to pay taxes, he was logical and well-reasoned, wasn't he?

Holbrook: yeah, but my husband and I didn't buy into it.

Cook: I understand. After these conversations, you continued to pay taxes and do what you needed to do as a citizen. But at the time he was talking to you, he was able to make a rational argument to you?

Holbrook: Yeah.

Cook: There were parts of his argument that you found convincing?

Holbrook: I don't really remember very well.

Cook: Let's talk about conversations about lymphology. [Those conversations were] after not-paying-taxes conversations?

Holbrook: I think so.

Cook: He could explain lymphology to you, and those were conversations you could follow. In fact, you yourself can see some of the truth and rationale behind lymphology?

Holbrook: Yeah. He was convinced lymphology could cure health problems.

Cook: In your testimony, you described him as being on a mission to describe lymphology. Do you know how many people he wanted to talk to about lympholgy?

Holbrook: As many as he could, I think. Dr. West traveled country giving lectures about lymphology - There was one thing. He, I don't me at the beginning of him changing...Well. I don't know, I said when they would be less interactive and shut themselves off from the family. when he came out talking, There was a difference from when he was interacting with the family. He was there to teach and preach. He wasn't really interested in the family and interactive.

Cook: Did it feel like a sales pitch?

Holbrook: Yeah.

Cook: I want to take you back to that time with Karen..when their marriage was ending. At that time, was custody being transferred to Karen?

Holbrook: You know I was just a teenager, so I'm not real aware of all the facts. My understanding was that it was going to be decided. I don't know if she was going to be given custody or not. He was afraid of losing custody.

Cook: The hearing was [to decide] custody?

Holbrook: I really don't know. That was my impression as a teenager.

Cook: Rather than showing up...Brian took Travis and Angela and left. You didn't know where those hcildren were for a long time.

Holbrook: Yes.

Cook: You mentioned after his marriage to Wanda, Brian and Wand began to withdraw from the family?

Holbrook: Yes.

Cook: Do you recall how long after the marriage that started?

Holbrook: I don't know, I'm not good at remembering dates and times. Seems to me it was a year or so, but I'm not certain.

Cook: Brian and Wanda were married in 1985. Does that sound right?

Holbrook: Sure. I think back...yeah.

Cook: So the beginning of the withdrawal in your memory happening about 1986 or 1987.

Holbrook: Yeah, but I'm not certain. I just know that we had that family get-together, and I don't remember if that was for Thanksgiving or Christmas or a birthday. If I could remember what it was.

Cook: At some of these get-togethers, would Brian and Wanda appear dressed in robes?

Holbrook: Later, yeah that did happen.

Cook: They would come to your home or other family member's homes in robes?

Holbrook: Yeah.

Cook: Did you ever see Wanda in a face veil?

Holbrook: No.

Cook: During those times in the robes. Did they try to share a religious message with you?

Holbrook: Um I don't remember then. When, um, I remember Brian being in preaching mode, but I don't remember any religious messages if that makes any sense. I remember earlier times when there was some religious discussion. That was before they were wearing robes and things.

Cook: Let's talk about the time he delivered his book. We've been calling it the book of Immanuel David Isaiah. He delivered the Book of Immanuel David Isaiah in the spring of 2002. Does that sound right?

Holbrook: Um, I'm trying to think.

Cook: Brian delivered a copy of the book to you. But he didn't say too much to you about it. He said a few words and walked away.

Holbrook: Yes.

Cook: He didn't offer to explain the book to you.

Holbrook: No.

Cook: Did he discuss the contents with you?

Holbrook: No.

Cook: There were some concepts in the book that were familiar to you?

Holbrook: Yeah. I should have read it before I came.

Cook: You had testified that there were concepts that you recognized, but they sounded like a perversion of things that were familiar. Did you spend a lot of time studying that book, Mrs. Holbrook?

Holbrook: No.

Cook: When Wanda and your brother were living in your parents' home did you feel they were taking advantage of your mother?

Holbrook: Yeah.

Cook: Did she ever complain to you that they were taking over her house?

Holbrook: I don's remember specifically that statement. My mother had a lot of people [over the years] who lived wither her. She doesn't say no very easily. She's a very generous, giving person. People did take advantage, not just brain, of her hospitality.

Cook: And the possessions you talked about having been destroyed, were those possessions, were they Wanda and Brian's possessions?

Holbrook: Yes.

Cook: The day you helped your mother out and the police came to the home, did you suggest to the police officers that Brian needed evaluation for mental illness?

Holbrook: No. It probably would have been a good idea.

Cook: And you didn't seek civil commitment for your brother?

Holbrook: No, it didn't occur to me.

Cook: During the time when Elizabeth Smart was gone, did you ever see Wanda or Brian during that time.

Holbrook: No.

Cook: Thank you nothing further at this time.

Judge Kimball: Redirect?

Robert Steele: During the shoving, you saw Brian shoving your mother?

Holbrook: I didn't see it.

Steele: How are you aware of it? When he was a teenager.

Holbrook: Oh. I was thinking about when he was in a What was the question?

Steele: Do you remember saying he shoved your mother when he was a teenager?

Holbrook: Yes.

Steele: Did he call her names when he did that?

Holbrook: I don't remember.

Steele: You talked about some of the kindness he showed you when you were young. Did that continue when he was a teenager?

Holbrook: [Sigh] Um, he wasn't real interactive with me that I can remember. I don't ever remember him being unkind.

Judge Kimball: You may step down, Ms. Holbrook.

Judge Kimball: You may call your next witness. Come up and state your name and be sworn in for the court.

[Marlon Peterson is sworn in.]

Peterson: My name is Marlon Peterson. [Spells it.]

Steele: Mr. Peterson, do you know Brian David Mitchell?

Peterson: I did.

Steele: How did you get to know him?

Peterson: I came to know him around the mid-70s and I had a roommate who was a construction contractor and he hired Brian to do some work and they came to the apartment after work.

Steele: You became friends?

Peterson: We did become friends.

Steele: What kinds of things did you do?

Peterson: Brian was 15 years younger than I, and he was ambitious guy. We would go mountain climbing, fishing, skiing, snowshoeing. We just hung out together.

Steele: Did he have children?

Peterson: Yes, very small children.

Steele: What were their names?

Peterson: Travis and Angie.

Steele: Where they with him?

Peterson: They were usually with the mother, and Travis and Angie would be at Brian's mother's home. The kids were around quite a bit with Brian.

Steele: And did you see him as a father taking care of them?

Peterson: I did.

Steele: What kind of father did you observe him to be?

Peterson: He worked with them, played with them and just had a lot of fun with them.

Steele: At some point did Brian leave the state?

Peterson: Yes, he did.

Steele: Do you know why he did that?

Peterson: As I recall the court was about to award custody to his wife, Karen, and he didn't like that and didn't think she was fit for being a mother. And for the love of his children, Brian took the children and left the state.

Steele: Did you observe Karen?

Peterson: Yes, on a couple occasions.

Steele: Did you help him leave the state?

Peterson: Yes, I did.

Steele: Tell us about that.

Peterson: He had made up his mind that he was going, and was fearful Karen might find out and get the kids, so I assisted with giving him some money, a bus fare.

Steele: Did you drive him somewhere?

Peterson: I did drive him from my home in Sandy to a bus station in Provo?

Steele: Why did you drive to Provo?

Peterson: Brian was afraid we were being watched, and thought they would try to prevent it. He thought if we didn't leave from the Salt Lake City depot then we would be less likely to be seen. So Provo was it.

Steele: Did you hear from him when he was gone?

Peterson: I did, we didn't telephone, but corresponded with letters.

Steele: How many letters?

Peterson: Seven, 8 or 9 at the time.

Steele: In general, what kind of experience did he have?

Peterson: He was back east and went to work and had a place to live. And I believe he was working for a fellow who had a cabin or some building that was livable, but he was doing odd work for this guy.

Steele: Did he let you know he was going to come back?

Peterson: I don't recall that. Although I had been in contact with his mother and father, and she may have done that because I knew he was going to come back.

Steele: Did you see him when he came back?

Peterson: Yes, quite often, we renewed our friendship.

Steele: Same kind of interaction as before?

Peterson: Yes.

Steele: Did you go to the court hearing for the kids?

Peterson: I did.

Steele: Do you remember when?

Peterson: No, I don't know. It seems shortly after he returned. It was a custody hearing for his children. They were going to award custody and he thought Karen would get the kids. The court didn't see it that way. They awarded the kids to Brian's mother. It was temporary, until Brian got the money to take care of the kids.

Steele: Did Brian ever get the kids back?

Peterson: I am not sure, they were at his mother's house.

Steele: Anything unusual that you remember about his personality?

Peterson: Uh. unusual? I am not sure, continue ...

Steele: OK. At some point did you learn about his arrest for the kidnapping for Elizabeth Smart?

Peterson: I did.

Steele: Where you living?

Peterson: Albuquerque, N.M.

Steele: How long?

Peterson: 20 years, plus or minus.

Steele: Where do you live now?

Peterson: Sandy, UT.

Steele: When did you come back?

Peterson: About two years ago.

Steele: What was your response when you learned he had been arrested?

Peterson: I didn't believe it. I didn't believe it was my Brian... [Peterson begins getting emotional.]

Steele: You understand he is the person that was involved in all that now?

Peterson: Yes.

[Viti begins cross examination.]

Viti: Mr. Peterson, you had mentioned that Mitchell was an ambitious guy. What did you mean by that?

Peterson: He was a vivacious guy, didn't slow down and stop. He just wanted to be involved.

Viti: It is obvious you were close to Mitchell.

Peterson: We were close yes. We had a lot of fun with each other.

Viti: Did you discuss religion?

Peterson: Probably.

Viti: Let's discuss that. What did you talk about when you did talk religion?

Peterson: I don't recall.

Viti: Anything unusual? Anything frighten you?

Peterson: No.

Viti: Disturb you?

Peterson: No.

Viti: What faith are you?

Peterson: LDS.

Viti: Anything that struck you that were worrisome, about what he would say about the church?

Peterson: At that time?

Viti: What time?

Peterson: In the ‘70s. He wasn't active in the church, and neither was I, so the church wasn't much to discuss.

Viti: All right, let's talk about the custody proceedings about Travis and Angela. My understanding is those proceedings were ongoing.

Peterson: Yes.

Viti: He knew about them, didn't he?

Peterson: Yes.

Viti: He devised a strategy to ignore those court proceedings, didn't he?

Peterson: Yes.

Viti: And that strategy involved taking Travis and Angie to move back east?

Peterson: Yes.

Viti: Because he loved them?

Peterson: Yes, he loved them with all his heart.

Viti: That second time involved the kids too, and the court awarded temporary custody to his mother. And yet at a later time, Mitchell took custody of the children he loved so much from his mother and put them up for adoption?

Peterson: That is what I understand.

Viti: You don't know for a fact?

Peterson: [Inaudible.]

Viti: When he was back east, did he discuss joining Hari Krishna?

Peterson: I believe he did and had a hard time getting away from them.

Viti: Was it a commune

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