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Mitchell hearing is canceled

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A misdemeanor theft court hearing Monday for the accused kidnapper of Elizabeth Smart was canceled because his mental competency evaluations aren't yet finished.

A hearing on the misdemeanor similarly was postponed in June, when a Justice Court judge rescheduled the pretrial shoplifting hearing for 90 days to give the mental examiners time to finish their work.

Mitchell, 49, and his wife, Wanda Barzee, 57, are charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated burglary in the 15-year-old's abduction on June 5, 2002, abduction.

A year ago, Mitchell was arrested for investigation of shoplifting at a downtown grocery store. He pleaded innocent to the misdemeanor retail theft charge on March 14.

Although the lesser charge is not related to the kidnapping, no case can proceed while competency is being examined, said state court administrator Nancy Vollmer.

Third District Judge Judith Atherton, who will decide whether Mitchell is competent to stand trial, has given the examiners until the end of this month to complete their reports.