December 10, 2010

Elizabeth Smart

Many of you might remember the story of Elizabeth Smart. She was kidnapped from her home when she was just 14. She was forced to be some mans wife for 9 months and taken from Utah to California, and back to Utah again. Luckily someone recognized her and she was freed from that man. Now 9 years later she was serving a mission in Paris for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and flew back to Utah to testify against this man at his hearing.
I remember feeling so horrible that this happened to such a sweet and beautiful girl. I felt like I understood some of her pain. Something was taken from her that she is unable to get back. But she has been such an inspiration. She is very resilient, and strong. Here is the story of the verdict.

Elizabeth Smart says she's 'thrilled' after guilty verdict
By JENNIFER DOBNER news services
updated 12/10/2010

SALT LAKE CITY— Elizabeth Smart waited
more than eight years for the word she heard

"Guilty," after a federal jury deliberated five
hours to convict street preacher Brian David
Mitchell of snatching Smart from her bed, at
knife point in the dead of night, and having sex
with her while he held her captive for nine

Smart smiled as the verdict was read, while a
bedraggled, bearded Mitchell sat at the defense
table, singing hymns with his hands before his
chest, as if in prayer.

“Today is a wonderful day,” Smart said outside
the courthouse hours later, adding “I am so
thrilled to be here, so thrilled of the verdict."

"I hope that not only is this an example that
justice can be served in America, but that it is
possible to move on after something terrible
has happened," Smart said.

It was a dramatic end to a tale that captured
the nation's attention since she disappeared in
June 2002: A 14-year-old girl mysteriously
taken from her home, the intense search and
her eventual discovery walking Salt Lake City's
streets with her captors.

Smart, now 23, flew back from her Mormon
mission in Paris to take the stand, and recount
her "nine months of hell."

"The beginning and the end of this story is
attributable to a woman with extraordinary
courage and extraordinary determination, and
that's Elizabeth Smart," federal prosecutor
Carlie Christensen said outside the

"She did it with candor and clarity and a
truthfulness that I think moved all of us," she

Smart described in excruciating detail how she
woke up one night to the feel of a cold, jagged
knife at her throat and being whisked away by
Mitchell to his camp in the foothills near the
family's Salt Lake City home.

Within hours of the kidnapping, she testified,
she was forced into a polygamous marriage
with him. She was tethered to a metal cable
and subjected to near-daily rapes while being
forced to use alcohol and drugs.

The thinly built, gray-haired Mitchell was
routinely removed from the courtroom after
loudly singing hymns and Christmas carols
and taken to another room to watch the
proceedings on closed circuit TV.

He kept his eyes closed in court and never
spoke to anyone, including his lawyers.

His lawyers did not dispute that he kidnapped
Smart but wanted him to be found not guilty
by reason of insanity. Such a verdict would
have sent him to a prison mental hospital.

'Predatory chameleon'
Prosecutors countered that Mitchell was
faking mental illness to avoid a conviction,
labeling him a "predatory chameleon."

Smart testified she believed Mitchell was
driven by his desire for sex, drugs and alcohol,
not by any sincere religious beliefs.

Jurors did not buy the insanity defense,
deliberating for roughly five hours to find him
guilty of kidnapping and unlawful
transportation of a minor across state lines
for the purposes of sex.

As the verdicts were read, the shackled
Mitchell sat singing about Jesus Christ on the
cross. Smart then turned to her mother and
both smiled. Elizabeth Smart later hugged

"It's real!" father Ed Smart said on his way out
of the packed courtroom, giving a thumbs up.

Smart and her family had hoped for the guilty
verdict and a long sentence.

"(Mitchell) has left a trail of misery behind him,"
Ed Smart said.

Mitchell could face up to life in prison when he
is sentenced on May 25. However, a judge also
could impose an unspecified, lesser sentence,
prosecutors said.

'Upset and frustrated'
To the chagrin of the family, the case was
delayed for years after Mitchell was declared
mentally incompetent to stand trial in state
court and a judge refused to order involuntary

Federal prosecutors later stepped in and took
the case to trial.

Christensen, the U.S. attorney, said one of the
biggest challenges of the case was the six

years between the time of the kidnapping and
the time the case came into the federal justice

A parade of experts took the witness stand to
say Mitchell had an array of diagnoses, from a
rare delusional disorder and schizophrenia to
pedophilia, anti-social personality disorder
and narcissism.

Mitchell's former stepdaughter told reporters
that she was shocked that jurors didn't see
that he was mentally ill.

"He honestly believes God tells him to do these
things," Rebecca Woodridge said. "He's upset
and frustrated that the Lord is making him go
through this."

I am so glad she will be able to return to her life knowing that he can do no more harm to her or her family.

Thanks for reading
XoXo-Andrea Carla

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