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. BaltimoreGeorge

    They should cook that guy like a slow roasted lamb on a spit, then feed him to the vultures. Oh, I'm sorry, does that sound a little cruel? If we had any real laws to protect women and children from preditors (and no early release), then we would see so much less of this crap!

    May 25, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sug

      I wish I could say 'Wow that sounds immature', but I wont, because that is exactly what we need to deal with people who harm women and children, children especially. They can't defend for themselves and they go through so much torture during their kidnapping/ raping but all these guys get is life in prison, what kind of justice is that?

      May 25, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JJ

    There goes another key. They sure pile up these days when nimrods like this one get locked up for life.

    May 25, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. zpaiss

    Maybe I am old-fashion, and I am sure all my violence-hating friends will disagree but this is crazy. There is no doubt that this man did what he did. If I was on the jury, my sentence would consist of giving him a long hot shower, a healthy and filling meal with a glass of wine if he drinks alcohol, and then lie him down and inject him with a lethal injection. Done.

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

      When I first started reading your post, my initial thought was " WTH??" Then I re-read and understand what you are saying and agree. Only difference is, I wouldn't want him fed or give him the drink and the injection would be one that makes him die slowly and causes severe pain. Barbaric? Maybe, but he desereves to suffer!

      May 25, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cheezboygee, cheezboygee, no Coke, Pepsi

    Now all we need is a method to spot the future Brian David Mitchells before they strike . . .

    May 25, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ti ti

    I say rapists should have their privates cut off and sent to the crazy house...prison and death is going too easy on them.

    May 25, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Great - he gets a free ride

    I can't wait to spend the rest of my life feeding this slug. Can't we just pour salt on him?

    May 25, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. alice

    I get your point Bill. But I hardly think now is the time to be intellectually sound. I think most of us just want to be "in the moment" and marvel in the thought of putting this man away til he dies...

    May 25, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Melinda

    For once. Once! There is justice.

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

    Some of you are saying a person needs to murder someone for them to get life in prison? Any person who did what this guy did to Elizabeth Smart should never walk the streets, period. We let these guys out too early, to repeat crime after crime. These creeps don't get better, so I say throw the book at all of them. Why do we take such good care of criminals?

    May 25, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bob Rock

    The sad part is that her religion "prepared" her for her ordeal. As a child, brainwashed to believe nonsense and not to resist "the word of god", she became an easy target for this marauder "preacher".

    May 25, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corrine

      Really? How was she an easy target? She was kidnapped from her bed!

      May 25, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Troll Pest Control, Inc.

      @ Bob Rock for Brains - you're a bloody idiot TROLL. Take a moment to ask yourself how you could read this story and turn it into a Mormon / religious bashing opportunity without being a complete Jack@$$. The answer? You're a complete ... well, you get the picture. Go take your ADHD meds and see if you can focus on a story long enough to comment on it without going Hitchens / Dawkins new-athesist psycho on us. You're an extremist filled with anti-religious hate and you're not one iota better than the ignorant exrtemist religious nut jobs out there. Two peas in the same extremist pod. One dimensional creatures running around fighting it out in Flatland. Pathetic.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BaltimoreGeorge

    That girl was traumatized. Being kidnapped has psycological syndromes associated with it, just ask a pow. Or better yet, ask a 14 year old girl whose life has been ruined by someone who may very well should have already been locked away.To say that the Smart girl was "anything but" may be the number one stupidist thing I have heard since the Rashard Mendenhall garbage. Have you been pounded in the head too?

    May 25, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. David

    I'm incredibly proud of her. She has handled this like I would never have imagined. She maintains her dignity, class, and faith, and displays incredible acceptance of the year robbed from her childhood and what was done to her. If only so many victims could hang their head so high and not have their self-esteem forever spiraling down.

    As far as Bill – You are an idiot. You have no idea the psychological state this girl was in 9 months later. Anyone that would sympathize against the victim is just an ass wanting to make a smart ass post or else just a disgrace for a human.

    May 25, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. atmo

    OH YEAH...He's Going to Federal "Pound Me In The A%# Prison" now!!

    May 25, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Hmmm

    Wow, even many murders only get 20-30 years. Must be nice to be white and privileged.

    May 25, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. WGH

    I just want to add that Elizabeth Smart is one of the most remarkable human beings I've heard of, and I wish her only the best opportunities in the future to reclaim her life. As for the dirt bag, I'm sorry it wasn't at least life without parole.

    May 25, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
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