For Elizabeth Smart, Friday's guilty verdict for the man who kidnapped and sexually assaulted her at the age of 14 was a message for others, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. “I am so thrilled with the verdict,” which she said should “give hope to other victims who have not spoken out about what's happened to them,”said Smart, 23.
The jury reached its verdict after five hours of deliberations. Mitchell was convicted of interstate kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor to engage in sexual activity for holding Smart captive for nine months, including near-daily rapes and a trip to California and back. He faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced on May 25, which allows time for a presentencing report to be completed. Defense attorneys had argued Mitchell was insane at the time he kidnapped then-14-year-old Smart from her bed at knifepoint to make her a plural wife. A not guilty by reason of insanity verdict would have meant Mitchell, a self-described prophet preparing to battle the anti-Christ, would have gone to a mental health facility rather than prison.