Brian David Mitchell, a homeless street preacher who kidnapped Elizabeth Smart and repeatedly raped her as he held her for more than nine months has been found guilty and faces a possible life sentence.
Mitchell, 57, was found guilty on two counts – kidnap and the unlawful transportation of a child to engage in sexual activity
In June 2002, Mitchell kidnapped Smart, who was 14 at the time, from the bedroom of her family’s Salt Lake City home in the middle of the night.
Smart, now 23, told reporters outside the courtroom Friday she was happy with the jury’s decision.
“I hope this will give hope to other victims who have not spoken out about what has happened to them. I hope that this is not only an example that justice can be served in America, but that it is possible to move on after something terrible has happened,” she said.
Mitchell’s lawyers claimed he was under the delusion he was acting on a commandment from God and should be found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Mitchell, a self-proclaimed prophet, was frequently ejected from the courtroom for singing hymns. When the verdict was read out Mitchell sang religious hymns loudly.
Elizabeth was rescued in March 2003, after passers-by spotted her walking with Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee on a street in Salt Lake City.
“I felt that because of what he had done to me, I was marked,” Smart testified. “I wasn’t the same. My personal value had dropped. I was nothing. Another person could never love me,” Smart said. “I felt like I had a burden the size of a mountain to carry around with me the rest of my life.”