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. Pix

    Elizabeth Smart is grace personified.

    Leave her alone, now, everyone. She's paid enough.

    May 25, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cesar

    @Bill: Your mother

    May 25, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jomamma

    @cesar: angiedaddy

    May 25, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Chaos 1946

    He should have kidnapped a boy. He wouldn't have gotton any punishment. Or does that only happen to black singers considered to be the "King of Pop"? Too soon?

    May 25, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. gwats

    This young woman responded to this horrifying experience with such courage and dignity, it's impossible not to admire her.

    May 25, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bill

    Well what i said was "Punish the kidnappers not the kidnapped".

    May 25, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. who hired the bum?

    What about the man who hired this bum? Mr. Smart could of hired a licensed contractor to work on his home but he hired this bum instead, trying to save a few bucks. Wtg dad. We are so proud of your thriftiness.

    May 26, 2011 at 4:23 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mr. Smart hired a bum

    Mr. Smart is a fairly wealthy man. He could have easily afforded to hire a local business to work on his home instead of hiring this bum. See where greedy penny pinching leads? wtg dad

    May 26, 2011 at 4:43 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mr. Smart hired a bum to work on his house

    He would have been better off hiring an illegal from Mexico now that all is said and done. wtg dad

    May 26, 2011 at 5:05 am | Report abuse |
    • defragg

      What does wtg mean?

      June 17, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mr. Smart

    Life in prison eh? How will that keep the "Mr. Smarts" from hiring bums to work on their property? Tightwads.

    May 26, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy

    Mr. Smart:

    I have come to the conclusion that you may be suffering from a mental illness.

    But you are still amusing.

    May 26, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jim

    I don't know where else to put this, but considering that she did a report on this story today too, I will put it here.

    I just watched the daily news podcast for CNN on ROKU and the newscaster Carol Costello was a complete idiot. To watch her on the report about the pilot who will be doing stunts for the Air National Guard for Memorial Day weekend was nothing less than painful. She would ask him what it feels like to do a barrel roll and he would say its exhilarating and he would continue on to say how proud he was to be a part of this for the Air National Guard. She would interrupt him and say, yes, but what does it feel like? He would seem flustered and would say, well I would invite you to come out and see first hand with me anytime and she would say, yes but tell us how it feels to do these stunts????? Seriously? What reporter asks such a stupid question over and over and over until she gets the exact answer that is in her head that no one but her seems to know? Wow. I am out of work and idiots like her have 6 figure incomes. Its insane.

    May 26, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Victim

    Justice is so twisted in this country. An ex girlfriend of mine got drunk with her new guy on her Birthday and sent him into a bathroom to teach me a lesson for breaking up with her. He had multiple assaults on his record already. He walked in, asked if I was "my name" and when I said yes, standing at the urinal, he hit him with something in his hand knocking me out. I woke up to being stomped and kicked in the head. I had broken arm, broken nose, shoulder injuries that required surgery, and knee injuries that required surgery. The police in the small resort town said that since it happened in a restaurant that also sold alcohol at night, that it was just another bar fight. I pressed them for days to file charges or even just take my statement about it, but they did nothing until I went to the county and tried to get them to press charges. After a joke of an investigation, they charged me with instigating and assault and him with a misdemeanor 4 assault (unlawful touching of another). I had to sale my home to raise the $3000 fee required for a criminal case lawyer. He basically wrote a single letter outlining all that happened and showing that the only injuries where to my body and head, and his hands. It was only his word that I told him I would do whatever I wanted when he allegedly walked into the bathroom and simply told me not to talk to his girl anymore. I had broken up with her over a month before and that was all. She had contacted me a few times a month before this incident and I didn't respond. I had no criminal history at all and he had been convicted of assault multiple times. Even she had been convicted of assault before. It took over a year to get him charged with a 2nd degree assault in the county courts. Then the primary prosecutor handed the case off to a new assistant prosecutor. This incident permanently disabled me. I have no short term memory and my life is chaos now. I lost my job when they put me on long term disability. I have thousands of dollars of debts, I cannot be in crowds or even around people like family or friends anymore because I cannot remember things we just talked about and its awkward for everyone. I put my trust that atleast the guy would finally get what he deserved and he would go to jail. This new assistant prosecutor struck a deal with the guy. In exchange for him pleading guilty to a lessor degree of assault, they would give him a 30 days at home detention and he would only have to pay me for my out of pocket deductible for the initial emergency room visit. He made this deal on his own and never even consulted me about it. My life is in ruins and I think about suicide every day. I have such terrible post traumatic stress disorder that I cannot even function around others in public daily. It comes down to attorneys getting numbers for their career. He won the case. The guy was not punished. I was not given anything for all of the suffering and indignities that I endured. In the end, I cannot even get a civil attorney to take the case for damages that are in the tens of thousands because the guy has no money and attorneys don't like to prosecute police for not doing their job. At the same time, people go to jail for years for traffic infractions or for growing a stupid marijuana plant in their back yard. There is no real justice in this country. All there is, is dog and pony shows when there is money to be made.

    May 26, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mr. Smart

    Mr. Smart did in fact hire this bum to work around his home. He could afford to hire a licensed contractor, but he chose to hire a bum that kidnapped his daughter. There is nothing 'mental' about my posts, glad they amused you banasy.

    May 27, 2011 at 6:18 am | Report abuse |
  15. helensapp27

    Within a few months, Barzee, Mitchell and Smart relocated to California. After many dead-end leads and hope dwindling, Smart’s younger sister Mary Katherine, who was woken up by the kidnapper the night of the abduction, recalls where she recognized his voice.

    May 27, 2011 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
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