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December 10th, 2010
01:18 PM ET

Federal jury finds Smart kidnapper guilty

Lena Jakobsson and Michael Christian
CNN

A federal jury has found a homeless street preacher guilty of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart in 2002 and transporting the 14-year-old girl across state lines with the intent to engage in sexual activity.

Jurors deliberated for about five hours before announcing the verdict in the case of Brian David Mitchell, 57, court officials said.

Smart, now 23, was the prosecution's star witness. She spent three days on the witness stand after traveling to Utah from Paris, France, where she is on a mission with the Mormon church. Afterwards, she sat with her parents in the front row of the courtroom, watching the trial.

Smart testified that she awoke to find a man holding a cold steel blade to her neck. She was taken from her bed and marched up a rugged mountain path in her red silk pajamas. When they reached Mitchell's remote camp, Smart testified she was "sealed" to her captor in a marriage ceremony, raped and shackled between two trees with a metal cable. She said she was degraded and treated "like an animal."

Smart said she was raped nearly every day during nine months in captivity and forced to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and watch Mitchell have sex with his legal wife, Wanda Barzee. She was forced to wear robes and a veil in public and was not permitted to speak to other people. She said she feared Mitchell would act on his threats to kill her and her family if she did.

"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," she added. "I felt like I had a burden the size of a mountain to carry around with me the rest of my life."

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Bryan Colwell

    The anger and fears of many have been put to rest. This decision on the right one and were very hopeful the Smart family can continue the reconstitution..........what a horrible ordeal. Our love to them.

    December 10, 2010 at 11:51 pm |
  2. Annie Kate

    I don't see how they could come to any other verdict, but I'm glad that the trial is over and that he was found guilty. Hopefully, that will close this chapter of Elizabeth's life and that she can go forward with a feeling of relative safety now. She is amazing for how she has coped with it all so far.

    December 10, 2010 at 10:39 pm |