Brian Mitchell Convicted of Elizabeth Smart Kidnapping

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

A jury in Utah has convicted Brian David Mitchell for the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart. The 57-year-old self-styled "street preacher" was found guilty on two counts -- kidnapping and transporting a minor across state lines with the intent to engage in sexual activity.

Mitchell loudly sang the hymn, "He Died, the Great Redeemer Died" in the packed courtroom as the verdicts were read Friday morning.

In 2002 Mitchell snatched Smart, then just 14 years old, from the bedroom of her family's home in Salt Lake City. Smart testified that he repeatedly raped her, often every day. The ordeal ended nine months later when Smart was spotted walking on a street with Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee.

Barzee pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping and is serving a 15-year prison term.

As for Mitchell, he faces life in prison when he's sentenced next May.

His defense attorneys never denied the charges against Mitchell -- they claimed he was insane and not responsible for his actions. The jury apparently did not buy that.

"The beginning and ending of this story is attributed to a woman with extraordinary courage and extraordinary determination, and that woman is Elizabeth Smart," Acting U.S. Attorney Carlie Christensen told reporters outside the courthouse.

"Her ability and willingness to recall the graphic details of her nine-month captivity, and she did it with candor and clarity and truthfulness, I think moved all of us," Christensen said. "She is a remarkable young woman."