The defense then called Lisa Holbrook, Mitchell’s younger sister to the witness stand.
Holbrook testified of her youth, growing up with Mitchell and of the family turmoil caused by Mitchell.
Holbrook told the court that Mitchell often teased her, but that he wasn’t “malicious.”
Holbrook testified that Mitchell often got the most attention in the family, due to his behavioral troubles and discipline.
Holbrook could not recall many specific details about Mitchell’s legal troubles.
Holbrook recounted of how Mitchell’s first wife got pregnant at 16 when he was 19 and that they moved in with the family as members of the family helped care for their first child Travis.
Holbrook testified that Brian and Karen were not very good parents and were into alcohol and ‘partying.’
Holbrook recounted some of the custody battle when Brian and Karen were divorced and how Brian took the kids away to New Hampshire for several years.
Holbrook said that as bad as parent Mitchell was, Karen was worse.
Holbrook said that when Brian returned to Utah, he was in bad physical shape, probably due to drugs, alcohol and smoking, but that he’d turned his life around within a year.
Holbrook testified that Mitchell had cleaned up, was more happy about life, was interactive and more interested in other people.
Holbrook said that Mitchell’s change came through his conversion to the LDS Church, which seemed sincere to her.
Holbrook said Mitchell also got into herbal supplements and gave her some, shich she said helped sure her of an infection once.
Holbrook also told of Mitchell’s second marriage to Debbie, which started out well, but deteriorated when Brian became ‘dysfunctional.’
Holbrook testified that Debbie’s children and Mitchell’s two children made for a difficult family combination, which the couple had a hard time handling.
Holbrook spoke of Mitchell’s children Travis and Angie and how they were once put up for adoption.
Holbrook also spoke of Mitchell’s marriage to Wanda Barzee, and how the couple was friendly and interactive with other family members for a time.
Holbrook testified that Mitchell experienced good times with the family, but that he would take offense and cut off ties with them, and one time in particular after he married Wanda.
Holbrook told the court that Mitchell later made contact with her and others, and that he had shared his book with them. She also testified that he tried to speak with her about Bo Gritz, lymphology and politics at one time.
Holbrook also said that during that time, Mitchell eventually changed his name to Emmanuel and that he’d given Wanda the name Hespibah. Holbrook said the couple started wearing robes and panhandled for money.
Holbrook also testified that Mitchell and Barzee went to live with Mitchell’s mother and that the couple took advantage of her and were violent with her. Holbrook said that’s when the family took action to get a restraining order against them, and the couple was kicked out of the home.
“She wanted them to leave,” said Holbrook. “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 asked, “What were they doing when you came back?”
“We just waited on the street. They were yelling ‘hell, fire and damnation’ to us…when we went inside, they had destroyed all their possessions.”
Steele asked. “Where was it that they had saw spoons?”
“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,” said Holbrook.
“What did you gather from book?” asked the defender.
“It was pretty incomprehensible, not a lot of valuable information….I am member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...it seemed to be a perversion of true concepts.”
Holbrook was then questioned about the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping.
Holbrook testified that she called police when she’d heard of a description of a ‘handyman’ who was wanted for questioning in the case.
“From that description, we knew it was Brian. The next morning, I called police and said it was my brother,” said Holbrook.
In cross-examination, a prosecutor asked Holbrook about Mitchell’s mental state during his earlier marriages.
“He wasn’t mentally ill, right?” asked the prosecutor.
“At the time, probably not. Dysfunctional probably.”
The prosecutor also redirected questions about her father’s dietary ideas, and how Brian had rebelled against his father.
Holbrook testified that her brother was manipulative, clever and smart, but also manipulative and sometimes self absorbed.
Holbrook also testified that when Mitchell was talking to her about Bo Gritz and not paying taxes, he was rational and convincing.
Holbrook again recounted some details of the custody situation with Mitchell’s first wife Karen, and that he took the children because he was afraid of not getting custody.
The prosecutor asked questions about Wanda and the eventual withdrawal of the couple from family members.
Regarding the time when she got the protective order for her mother, the prosecutor asked Holbrook, “Did you tell police Brian needed to be evaluated for a mental illness?”
“No…probably should have,” said Holbrook.
Holbrook also testified that she had no contact with her brother or Barzee after Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped.
Mitchell's friend Marlon Peterson was then called to the stand. ABC 4 News does not have a full account of his testimony.