Man who abducted Elizabeth Smart sentenced to life in prison
Elizabeth Smart told reporters Wednesday that she "couldn’t be happier" with the sentencing.
May 25th, 2011
06:04 PM ET

Man who abducted Elizabeth Smart sentenced to life in prison

A homeless street preacher who abducted, raped and kept a 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart captive for nine months was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison.

Brian David Mitchell was found guilty in December of kidnapping Smart from her Utah home in 2002 and transporting her across state lines with the intent to engage in sexual activity. Jurors rejected the insanity defense mounted by his lawyers.

After Mitchell was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Salt Lake City, Utah, Smart told reporters that she was "thrilled with the results that came out today."

"The life sentence – I couldn’t be happier,” she said outside the court building.

Smart, now 23, said she thanks everyone who ever prayed for her or made an effort to bring her home.

"As I said during court, and I'll say it again now, I absolutely 100% believe that Brian David Mitchell knew exactly what he was doing when he kidnapped me, and all the events that followed. ... Today is the ending of a very long chapter, and the beginning of a very beautiful chapter for me," she said.

Police stopped Smart, Mitchell and Mitchell's wife on March 12, 2003, after a tipster spotted them outside a Walmart in Sandy, Utah, just a few miles from Smart's home.

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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Elizabeth Smart • Justice
soundoff (199 Responses)
  1. Melissa

    Very nice, although I would have preferred the death penalty. There is no excuse for what he did to her, yet our tax dollars now have to keep him alive for the rest of this life. Part of me hopes justice is "served" within the prison system after he is admitted to his final destination, if he's not already there.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      It'll cost us less to deal with him by keeping him locked up forever. Prison will be hell for him, in death row he would've been by himself...at least this way, he'll be brutalized. Kiddie rapists get their due in prison without fail.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dano

      From what I've heard, prison inmates don't like child abusers. I'd imagine he'll have a pretty rough go of it, as he deserves.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • fiveteeonevee

      Bill – i get your poinbt but you are wrong. Raping a person should be a capital offense. Raping a child should be punishable by death. Otherwise there is no real deterent to it, and you are right we hear all too often about how things go much much worse but we also hear all too often about this sort of thing so we cannot minimalize it's damaging impacts to the victims and socitey as a whole by comparing it to a worse crime. The guy should fry.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • gary davis

      hey Bill what would you do if your dauf=ghter had been taken by a sick freak like him . ? if it were my dauf=ghter he wouldn't still be alive , the justice system is weak at best . this guy crawled out from under a rock and ruined many lives . he doesnot have the right to be alive . so stick it Bill

      May 25, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jesus

      Stop all of ye! Let any man or woman here without sin cast the first stone! This guy's good people. If we are going to stone anyone it's going to be those pesky unruly children!

      May 25, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • d

      amen. We have got to stop treating things like this sub human as worthy of humane treatment.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Melissa

    Are you really that ignorant? /mindboggle

    May 25, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Karen

    Wonderful day for justice.
    The only sentence that would have been better is if it had been the death penalty.
    .

    May 25, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Karen

    Melissa and d-rew...
    Ignore the troll.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sharky

    THATS IT?!! Now the taxpayer has to pay for him to have 3 meals a day, cable TV, and healthcare for the rest of his life?

    May 25, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alexa

      It costs taxpayers more to house a deathrow prisoner. Plus he is a child molester, they rarely survive in the general population.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bgrngod

      Sounds like a bargain for ensuring this monster gets a long punishment. As long as that's basic cable anyways.

      If you think execution is cheaper, you are delusional.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. LMK12

    Esmart, Do you know anything about this case? He told her that if she tried to contact anyone, tell anyone, escape or do anything else that he would kill her family. She was 14 and he got into her house to kidnap her. She thought he was very capable of getting back in the house and killing her family.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • What if she was your daughter?

      She wasn’t 14 the entire time.
      She had numerous chances to walk away. Including a cop that questioned them. Why would a ‘14’ year old have an more reason to believe he wouldn’t go to jail, than she would he could magically ‘get them’ ?

      Ms. Smart is anything but. However she is still the victim here. And I agree with the majority of other post. He should be put down.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. fiveteeonevee

    Elizabeth Smart is the walkign talking breathing definition of grace and forgiveness.

    God Bless her for being a role model for survivors.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • MamaV

      Agreed. Well put.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Absolutely. As someone else said, she is one of the most remarkable people and I think that's an understatement given what she went through.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. SBrown

    Blow this Mitchell out of a torpedo tube of a submarine at a depth of 1000 feet.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Matt

    Death penalty? She is still alive...

    May 25, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duane W

      Doesn't matter that she is still alive, what he did was so horrendous that he deserves to die for his crimes. If it was my daughter there would be no one to stop me from getting to him and taking care of it myself.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      Yeah, I agree. Some of these folks are nuts. We have people saying he should have got 5 years and others saying that he should die. Life in prison sounds perfect for each and every person that does something like this.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. LMK12

    So because he DIDN'T kill her he doesn't deserve to rot in jail?! are you out of your mind?

    May 25, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Did i say that no.

      May 25, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. amber

    you're an idiot

    May 25, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mitchell'sDoneWith

    YESSSSS!!! Dude deserves a life sentence. Hopefully this case will shed light on harsher sentences for all child abductors, pedophiles, etc. If you mess with a child, get life in prison. PERIOD.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. bill

    What IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE. Most rapists and child abductors KILL their victims. This man clearly had a horrible defense attorney and does NOT deserve life! I'm shocked. You people all jump on the bandwaggon too. One after another, just because he's a criminal. HE DOESN'T DESERVE LIFE IN PRISON FOR KEEPING ELIZABETH ALIVE. Ten years tops.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? This man repeatedly brutalized a GIRL. Sorry, but this was exceptionally depraved and deserving of what he got.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • SBrown

      He only kept her alive so he could continue raping her.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • fiveteeonevee

      I think you need to empathize with ELizabeth Smart more and what's his name less.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cass

      Just because he let her live doesn't give him the right to not have a serious punishment. He deserves life because of what he put her and her family through.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duane W

      10 years? The damage he did will last a lifetime and do you seriously think he would be a model citizen once he got out? If so allow him to move into your home with your family if you are that empathetic.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      I think everyone is missing the point Bill is making here. Another, more horrific outcome to all this is that Elizabeth could have been killed. Basically, the message being sent here to kidnappers is, once you cross the line, might as well kill your victim because you won't receive any leinancy, regardless, if you get caught.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      How about ten years as punishment and then the rest of his life behind bars to protect other children from this predator? As least we know he is off the streets and cannot harm another innocent child.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • TJ78

      How many young girls are locked in your basement?

      May 25, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • bayarea707

      Bill are you F****ing kidding me, this man deserves to be blasted or waterboarded

      May 25, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • capture bill

      Well Bill, how would you like it if someone were to keep you in the basement, screw you in the A**ole for 9 months and let you live ....

      You would love It right ... well at least he let you go

      May 25, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zeus

      to be honest, bill, you do actually make a valid point, but too many people are just blind to it

      May 25, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roundhouse Kick

      @Zeus: oh yes wise Zeus! Nothing like the words of a false God with a name beginning with the last letter of the alphabet signifying your status as not the top or first creator but way down in last place. Must blow playing 26th fiddle eh?

      May 25, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Melissa

    lol "bill" must be "esmart"

    what a fail troll

    May 25, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      I was car jacked by two people one of which held a 25 pistol to my somach and said he would shoot me. Now if the two guys that car jacked me thought they would be killed for car jacking me i would not be here right now. And now you know the rest of the story.

      May 25, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roundhouse Kick

      Or people are not all easy to figure out. I was robbed once and really never worried for my life. I think people who pull guns out at others are just trying to intimidate the other person. If they are pushed some might pull the trigger. Watch America's dumbest criminals and you'll see gunmen as the punks they are. I feel sorry for you. You have such a narrow way of looking at things.

      May 25, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill

      Well i don't want to go into details about it but your well aware of what happend after.

      May 26, 2011 at 6:42 am | Report abuse |
  15. Dano

    Have you read what this man did to her? And you think he should get a slap on the wrist? Explain.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
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