Just a few hours after Brian David Mitchell was found guilty of kidnapping her, Elizabeth Smart stood confidently outside the courthouse and praised the verdict.
“It’s a wonderful day,” Smart, wearing a green and black dress and pearls, said outside Salt Lake City’s Frank E. Moss Federal Courthouse Friday. “I’m so thrilled to be here, so thrilled with the verdict. Most of all, I stand before the people of America to give hope to other victims who have not spoken out about what has happened to them.”
Mitchell, 57, was convicted of kidnapping Smart when she was 14 and subjecting her to a terrifying nine-month ordeal. He faces possible life in prison for kidnapping for transporting a child across state lines for sexual purposes. He’s due to be sentenced in May 2011.
Prosecutor Diana Hagen credited Smart’s powerful testimony during the trial as a major factor in the jury’s decision, and Smart in turn gave a nod to authorities.
“I would like to say thank you to everyone who’s put so much work into my case and in helping me,” Smart said.
Her mother, Lois, said Friday’s verdict was a victory. “Doesn’t she glow?” she said of her daughter. “Today is such a wonderful day. There was another day to use the ‘victorious’ word and that was the day she came home. As mothers, as women, as daughters, we can [move] forward.”
Smart, too, spoke of her intention to focus on the next phase of her life.
“It is possible to move on after something terrible has happened,” she said. “I’m excited to go back to France and complete my mission. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support.”
Elizabeth’s father, Ed, told the crowd that the entire family would, finally, be able to put their ordeal behind them.
“It truly is closure,” he said. “I think it talks to our system, that it works.”