Former street preacher sentenced to life for kidnapping Elizabeth Smart
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Nearly nine years after she was abducted at knifepoint from her bed, Elizabeth Smart watched Wednesday as a federal judge ordered a street preacher to spend the rest of his life in prison for kidnapping and raping her while holding her captive for months.
The sentencing of Brian David Mitchell closed a major legal chapter in the heartbreaking ordeal that stalled for years after Mitchell was declared mentally ill and unfit to stand trial in state court.
“I know that you know what you did is wrong,” Smart said to Mitchell, who sang quietly in the courtroom. “You took away nine months of my life that can never be returned.”
U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball handed down two life sentences for Mitchell at the hearing in Salt Lake City. A jury earlier unanimously convicted the 57-year-old Mitchell in December of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines for sex.
Smart was 14 when she was snatched from the bedroom of her family home in Salt Lake City. Wednesday was the first time she faced her kidnapper in court; he was removed from the trial for singing hymns when she testified.