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. Ms Baker

    Wouldn't it have been better if it was life without parole? Because isn't "Life" only a certain amount of years? What about the wife, has she been tried yet?

    May 25, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • md

      Because this is a Federal case, life in this case is life without parole. If it were a state case, parole could be an option.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      This was a Federal case, and there is no parole in the Federal system. He's done.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bill

    Look at the facts in this case the dad says she was abducted by two people in a car at a school bus stop… Then the dad says she was abducted from her home and the screen door was cut…
    If I was on a jury I would be asking the dad was she abducted from the school bus stop or was she abducted from her home… Something’s fishy here!!!
    Also all you people that talk about killing the guy who abducted her are worse than the guy who abducted her because at least he did not kill her like everyone else who abducts some one after reading the comments will so they them self’s wont be killed think about it!!!

    May 25, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • md

      Her father NEVER said she was taken from a bus stop! She was taken from her home – he entered through the kitchen after he cut the screen.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susie

      Bill- You're actually confusing two different child abduction cases. Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her bedroom at night; Jaycee Dugard was abducted from a school bus stop.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy2Time

      Good job, Bill.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      There is NOTHING fishy here but you can continue to spew rhetoric if you wish.
      I'm just glad that you had NOTHING to do with this case.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • PattiK

      Jaycee Lee Dugard was kidnapped at her school bus stop. Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her home, so there's nothing fishy about Elizabeth's dad's story.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Sorry about that MD. Her father said she was abducted from a school bus stop on national tv right after she was abducted. Now that she has been found her father says she was taken from her home and the screen door was cut.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      This could be possable but i thought they were one in the same.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      One thing i am trying to point out if some of the people here discussing killing the kidnapper what kind of chance does this give the person who has been kidnapped.

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

      Bill – No, they're not the same. They're two entirely different incidents – taking place in two entirely different states. Elizabeth Smart was abducted from Utah, and Jaycee Dugard was abducted from California. Elizabeth Smart was led from place to place (including crossing state lines) with her homeless abductor and his wife for months, often (if not always) camping out. Jaycee Dugard was kept in a sort-of hut, shack, or primitive cabin in the backyard of her captors' home for years, and actually had children by him. She was abducted as a child, and discovered in her adulthood.

      May 25, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Sorry to miney tornados has my head all mixed up.

      May 25, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deb

      The dad never said such a thing:

      The whole thing was always reported as a home invasion kidnap.

      Barzee, his wife repeats the same story.

      read up and learn before you post stupid rumors.

      May 26, 2011 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
  3. md

    I know I speak for many of us that live in this community, we are so very grateful this man will never have the opportunity to walk among us ever again. I, as many others here, have had multiple "run-ins" with Brian David Mitchell. This man is an evil, manipulative person. He has a clear mind and knew/knows exactly what he was/is doing. Now is the time to let him disappear from the media. It is time to let go of the past, I know for a fact Elizabeth now will be able to – and she truly couldn't be happier. This family has been through hell. Nothing would make them happier than to be able to help others and to never speak of Brian David Mitchell EVER again.

    May 25, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • starpilot

      Thankfully for her this very evil man- and I do say that sincerely- whatever the words are now- psychopath whatever- he took an innocent young girl from her family and home and hurt her for motnhs.
      I hope he stays in prison forever. God can forgive but me- I just want this monster jailed, thinking of my own kids.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kristal

    life he will be out again life should mean life no parole untill the day he die's

    May 25, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      This is a Federal charge so a life sentence means life. The Feds don't play around like the State courts do.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jay

    Burn him !!!!!

    May 25, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brad76

    Hey look! Her lawyer is Harrison Ford!

    May 25, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. powder99

    If that was my daughter I can't imagine the hatred I'd feel. I wish her and her family all the best in their road to recovery.

    May 25, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. BaltimoreGeorge

    It's the ridiculous appeals process that makes death penalty cases so expensive. With incontrovertable evidence against this guy, why not stand him up against the wall and shoot him 300 times. Can you really say that feeding and housing that turd for 30 years costs less than a couple boxes of bullets? And by the way, don't blame her religion. This guy broke into her parents house and took her away at knife point. I feel like Mr. Hand: "Is everybody on dope?"

    May 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. midogs2

    Americas Sweetheart, God bless her.

    May 25, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    How come every time they run this story they make the same mistake – Captive for 9 months? I thought it was 9 years? But they ran it so many times now I'm starting to think it was 9 months.

    May 25, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paige

      It was nice months. SHe was kidnapped in june of 2002 and returned in mar of 2003.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      My bad... I'm thinking of the wrong kid.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Paige


    May 25, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sean

    The death penalty should have been given to this man. What I don't understand is why some of the listed commnents say otherwise. Imagine it was your daughter that was kidnapped then what would you be thinking?

    May 25, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Conmanco

      Why is life in prison not good enough? He will NEVER be on the streets again. He will NEVER see the outside of his prison. You push for the extreme just because of an instant burning hatred but you fail to understand that the death penalty is "court sanctioned murder". Every time someone is put to death in our prison systems, it just goes to show that we're not afraid to stoop to the level of the criminals that we're punishing. People are so desentized today, it makes me sick...

      May 26, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  13. Heather

    That Bill guy must be confusing Elizabeth Smart with Jaycee Dugard. She's the one who disappeared from the bus stop. Elizabeth's sister saw her disappear from their bedroom. I'm so glad this sicko got life in prison... Hopefully he NEVER gets parole.

    May 25, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Chris

    He should have just killed her to shut her up; he would have gotten life anyway, if caught, perhaps the death penality, but that is not guaranteed. There is no incentive for rapists and molesters to keep their victims alive, and have them be potential witnesses, if they will get life in prison anyway, especially if the state is not a death penalty state.

    May 25, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. midogs2

    Agree, Paige. He's trolling for comments.

    May 25, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
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