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. gary davis

    toeven say a statement like why didn't she just leave . is beyond stop stupid . you either haven't been living on thi plaNET OR YOU ARE JUST AN IDIOT . NO SENSE IN EVEN TRYING TO EXSPLAIN . dork . the girls live was wiped out by a sick freak and his wife . both should be put down .

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

    You clearly are an idiot

    May 25, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JB

    One part of me is glad that he got life in prison. The other part of me is sad that CCA is going to continue to profit off tax payers money by charging us to keep this filth in prison with medical benefits.
    I would prefer a bullet in the head for justice if for no better reason than economics but our screwed up crminial justice system is more expensive to put a man on death row than just to keep him in jail for life.
    One day we will wake up. Either way, this guy is a filthy animal and I am glad he is off the street so I don't have to shoot him myself.

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

      Did not know that Utah contracted out to CCA...

      May 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. vmaxnc

    Yet another worthless drain on the taxpayers. What the hell, we'll just borrow some more money. A thousand things this country needs, but we'd rather blow the money keeping this POS alive and taken care of. Only people that actually had a real life will suffer in prison. This guy is getting an upgrade to his lifestyle.

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

      Instead of complaining about how we're going to keep a person locked up for life that deserves it, maybe you should complain about the ACTUAL waste of money that is happening because of the "drug war".

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

    This is a deeply religious man who will not change by the prison. As soon as you let him out, he will do it again to another innocent child. This is the reason to lock him up for good.

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

      This man is not "Deeply religious". This man is an incarnation of the evil one. He uses Christian-sounding words to entrap his victims. Is this not obvious?

      May 25, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thedickwhisperer

      Have you ever read The Bible? It's full of "sick". I imagine the Koran is too. Stoning children is cool but not cheating women? Cuckoo cuckoo.

      May 25, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roundhouse Kick

      @Mary: Have you even read the bible? It's loaded with sick. Mitchell looks and acts right on par with most cult leaders. Christianity is a cult. Being a big cult doesn't make it any less a cult although it does make it very dangerous. You should recognize the difference between being a "believer" and being religious. They are 2 different things.

      May 25, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Karen

    Seriously bill??? Are you one of his followers or something??? You obviously dont have children...or a wife. She was 14 and scared for her life and the lives of her family. He got to her in her OWN HOME...she wasnt stupid in believing that he could have as easily gotten to her family again. He deserves life...if not the death penalty. With NO CHANCE of parole or forgiveness.

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

      Im just a guy that was car jacked by two guys who were trying to find a convent place to dump a womans body.

      May 25, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Boy it sure got quiet real fast!

      May 25, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Oh thats right its 9:00 Pm and past you all's bedtime.

      May 25, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Matt

    Work on the punctuation people. Also, it is a cruel and unusual punishment to give the death penalty in criminal cases not dealing with the killing of another person. Therefore, direct you cry baby tax payer complaints towards something more beneficial, like getting rid of the Bush Tax cuts.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      Heck yeah. Someone else with a brain and the will to use it.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Alexa

    Dont feed the troll people, Bill is sitting in a darkened basement getting all excited because he made strangers mad on the internet – it is the only life he has.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. KillBillVol.1

    Bill is obviously a child molester who is going to court sentence to you too Bill!

    Seriously, everyone should know by now, do NOT feed the trolls. Trolls live off attention. Without it, they starve. Back under your bridge, Bill.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill

      While I enjjoy the creativity in your username, I completely disagree with you on me being a troll. I really do think a lifetime is absolutely crazy sentence. I'm actually a little put off by the fact that I seem to be the only one suggesting this and the mere fact that you would think my position would be SO OUTRAGEOUS it is only excusable by dismissing me as a troll. Think about my point. This man could've killed her and still gotten the same sentence. In fact, he could've killed her and never have gotten caught, or enjoyed life for a lot longer forever long as it remaind a cold case. Life sentence is rediculous.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aezel

      Oh okay Bill, so by your logic we should always just sentence criminals based upon whatever it our imagination could come up with that they could have done? By that logic we should have just given Hitler a slap on the wrist because hey, he only killed 6 million Jews, he COULD have killed all the Catholics too.

      Whatever your crime may be, you could always have done worse. An abductor could kill someone, or take it a step further and kill them and then kill their family, or kill their family and then eat them, or then eat them and .......on and on. Your logic is moronic and you are so pathetic in your intellectual capacity to not realize it it is laughable. Why don't you concentrate on a 3rd grade level of logical brain function and then we can talk okay there sport?

      May 25, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Man In The Black Hat

      Does your entire family feed on children's life force? We need to lessen drug sentences and go after these monsters with greater voracity.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Voice Of Reason

      No life sentence if child abusers agree to castration. Still serve minimum of 10 years, but they need their weapons taken away medically. I don't think many decision makers have the bawls for it. Pun intended.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Hey i know where you live.

      May 25, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Well some people on here must get their jollys off seeing other people killing other people i dont and i was car jacked.

      May 25, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • me aka you

      Ok so..... come do something. This is boring. More proof im not nuts. Thanks.

      May 25, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Eric Richter

    As Wolf Blitzer was wrapping up this story who was the idiot at CNN that took the coverage off of Elizabeth Smart as she was about to provide information on several missing children. What a disservice CNN. Somebody needs to get a clue. Idiots!....

    May 25, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JusTice

    Hang him by his toes. Just wait, I doubt it if makes it a year in prision before someone gets aholf of him in prison.

    ESmart: Your an idiot. Are you related to this crazy guy by any chance? That is the only semi-justifyable reason that you would have sympathy for this crazy guy.

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

    FBI – Please look into Bill's account and track him. I can almost guarantee you (s)he is participating in illegal activities similar to what happened to Elizabeth.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nostradamus

      Way to make a blanket statement without any evidence. His comments were a little troubling, but that doesn't mean he is a criminal.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dawg11bravo

      Your paranoid and take people's comments wayyyy to serious this stuff is so uncommon but the media wants to make you think your kids are in constant danger of being aducted like this, you have a better chance of winning the lotto so are you looking at 200,000 million dollar houses in preparation for the big win?

      May 25, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe in Colorado

      That's a pretty serious accusation there. I think Bill's point is a good one, even if he didn't articulate it very well.

      Life in prison is an onerously harsh punishment for a crime that didn't end up in death or maiming or torture. Elizabeth Smart has forgiven her captor, but the penal system just gets harsher and harsher.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill


      1) The FBI monitors CNN story posts; nnd,
      2) You are their go-to guy for tips.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Matt

    Bill makes a good point, though in a very not subtle way. If criminals know they are going to get such a harsh sentence for less serious offenses as more (Kidnapping v. Kidnapping and killing), they are going to be more inclined to simply commit the more serious offense because they'll be punished the same for the less serious offense. I actually agree that the sentence was very harsh, but without knowing the details of the case (legal details folks), I can't comment on what the penalty should have been. One thing is for sure, death penalty is out of the question and any of you who think it should have been applied need to re-read my argument above.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      I was thinking the exact same thing Matt. Well said.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • TJ78

      Wow, I had no idea that kidnapping a young girl and raping her on a daily basis wasn't that big a deal. Murder isn't that only reason a person should get life.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • kanon

      *facepalm* to both Matt and Steve.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • sanjosemike

      Matt, as much as I would like to think that criminals actually do an "analysis" of the legal implications of their crimes, it appears unlikely. Many have had some experience with the system, but despite that experience they never really seem to learn any law. Of course there are exceptions, for example professional people with college education. But even those people think they will get away with it. The vast majority of people who commit serious crimes are not very intelligent. Many are not even literate.

      May 25, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tim

    Thank God Justice is the live streaming from Salt Lake City

    May 25, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Aezel

    Successful troll is successful.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
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