Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped at knifepoint from her bed in June 2002, finally got justice after 9 years as her kidnapper Brian David Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison.
The life sentence of 57-year old Mitchell concluded a major legal chapter that lasted for years after he was declared mentally ill and unfit to stand trial in state court.
However, in December, a federal jury unanimously convicted Mitchell of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines for sex. On May 25, 2011, Judge Dale Kimball of Federal District Court handed down two life sentences for Mitchell, who was a former street preacher.
I know that you know what you did is wrong, Smart told Mitchell, who sang quietly in the courtroom. You took away nine months of my life that can never be returned.
I have a wonderful life. You will never affect me again, Smart added.
Smart, now 23, was kidnapped at the age of 14 from her Salt Lake City bedroom and found nine months later in March 2003, in Sandy, Utah, 18 miles away from her home.
The abduction and recovery of Smart, who later testified to being threatened, tied, and raped daily while she was held captive, were widely reported and were the subject of a made-for-TV movie and non-fiction book.
Smart, now a political activist, has four brothers and a sister and was one of four women awarded the Diane-von Furstenberg Award in March 2011. The award included a $50,000 prize, which Smart will use to start a foundation aimed at helping young people avoid or recover from violent events.