Fifty-seven year old Brian David Mitchell, who had kidnapped Elizabeth Smart in 2002 and had repeatedly raped her while holding her captive for 9 months, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a federal judge on Wednesday.
Mitchell had kidnapped Smart 9 years ago, when she was only 14.
During her captivity, Mitchell raped her repeatedly during the nine months of hell, besides forcing her to view pornography, drink alcohol and watch him having sex with his Wanda Barzee. Finally Smart was rescued while she was walking with the kidnapper on a street in Salt Lake City on March 12, 2003.
The trial took a long time to begin as the defense attorneys said Mitchell was mentally ill and argued that as his action was tainted by delusional beliefs, he was not fit to stand for trial.
However, Mitchell did stand for trial and for the first time, faced his victim Elizabeth Smart face-to-face in court ever since she was rescued.
Elizabeth Smart, who is 23 year old now, appeared calm and composed as she stood in the witness box and testified. I don't have very much to say to you. I know exactly what you did. I know that you know what you did was wrong. You did it with a full knowledge, Smart told Mitchell.
Mitchell, a homeless Mormon street preacher with long hair and beard, sang hymn quietly all the time in the court.
I have a wonderful life now, Smart said, adding, that no matter what you did will it affect me again. You took away nine months of my life that can never be returned, but in this life or next, you will have to be held responsible for those actions, and I hope you are ready for when that time comes.
On Wednesday, Smart testified the details about her ordeal. Mitchell snatched her from her bedroom on June 5, 2002. When she awoke that early morning, a jagged knife was close to her throat and she was forced to wear in white, religious robes and admit she is his wife. She was subjected to near-daily rapes while being forced to use alcohol and drugs.
Wanda Barzee, who is already serving a 15-year sentence in a federal prison hospital in Texas for her role in the kidnapping, testified that Mitchell believed he needed to take seven wives as part of a crusade to restore the Mormon Church to polygamy.
Smart said Mitchell was driven by his desire for sex, drugs and alcohol, not by any sincere religious beliefs. New York forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner, concluded Mitchell was malingering or faking a mental disorder to avoid prosecution.
Nine months of living with him and seeing him proclaim that he was God's servant and called to do God's work and everything he did to me and my family is something that I know that God would not tell somebody to do, Smart said during the trial.
Your perversion and exploitation of religion is not a defense. It is disgusting and it is an abuse that anyone should despise, her father Edward told Mitchell.
Later, Smart told the media that she couldn't be happier with the life sentence.
Today is the ending of a very long chapter, and the beginning of a very beautiful chapter for me, she said.