Calling Brian David Mitchell's crimes against Elizabeth Smart “unusually heinous and degrading,” U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball said that “a life sentence reflects the seriousness of the crime.”
Smart, who at 23 has become an activist for missing children, addressed Mitchell outside the courthouse Wednesday. Mitchell was unresponsive except to sing a string of hymns. Smart said:
Although Mitchell would not look Smart in the eyes or offer her an apology, Smart said she didn’t care.
After Smart was discovered in Sandy, Utah, in 2003, she recovered from the ordeal surprisingly quickly, with her father calling it a small “miracle” that she was starting to act like a normal teenager.
Smart continued to try to lead a normal life, attending Brigham Young University for college, where she studied music as a harp performance major, and then moving to Paris in 2009 to go on a Mormon mission. (She is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.) Smart says she may consider law school next.
But Smart has also decided her experience will lead her to a life of work in child advocacy. In 2006, she went to Congress to support Sexual Predator Legislation, and in 2008, she presented a book published by the Department of Justice called You’re Not Alone , about children who had gone missing but been recovered.
Smart does much of her work through the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, which she founded to help children nationwide.
“Today is the ending of a very long chapter and the beginning of a very beautiful chapter for me,” she told crowds outside the courthouse Thursday.
Watch Smart’s remarks after the court case:
Watch an interview with Smart a few days before the trial: