"Elizabeth coming home and being able to move forward like she has, it's amazing how resilient they are. I just hope that other victims out there get the message that the only way you stop the predator is by standing up and taking pride in yourself," Ed Smart said.
Brian David Mitchell was convicted last Friday of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart eight years ago and subjecting her to nine months of sexual and mental torture that included repeated rapes, forced consumption of drugs and frequent threats to kill her.
"The most important thing that came out of Friday is no other child is going to be hurt by Brian Mitchell. As I sat there listening to the legacy that he left behind, his children, the people that he touched…he left nothing, nothing for the world," Ed Smart said.
It was Ed Smart's determination, through nine months of hell, that helped bring Elizabeth home. Many gave up hope, but Ed Smart relentlessly kept Elizabeth's face and name in the news. Hearing Elizabeth recount the horror of her ordeal was difficult for the Smart family.
During her three days of testimony last month, Elizabeth answered the most intimate and embarrassing questions about her abduction. She offered excruciating details about constant sexual abuse and how Mitchell forced her to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana at the age of 14. She painted Mitchell as a cruel religious zealot obsessed with sex.
"I felt like she was saying, 'Dad, there was a point where I just felt worthless. I mean he [Mitchell] was just taking everything I felt was sacred away from me and I felt worthless. But then she said at one point I determined…I have worth, my family loves me and I'm going to do whatever it takes to survive," Ed Smart said.
At the end of the grueling five week trial, the Smart family felt optimistic that there would be a guilty verdict.
"The night before when we heard final arguments and the closing, we just thought how can they determine anything else but guilty and…when we heard that the verdict was in…we were in smiles," Ed Smart said. "We just thought the system works and people are not going to get away with what they try to do."
Smart, 23, grinned as she heard the guilty verdict, showing the world she is not just a survivor, she is an inspiration.
"Today is a wonderful day and I am so thrilled to be here, I am so thrilled with the verdict, but not only that but I am so thrilled to stand before the people of America today and give hope to other victims," Elizabeth Smart said the day of the verdict. "It is possible to move on after something terrible has happened, and that we can speak out and we will be heard."
Earlier in the day, Smart's lawyers expressed their happiness with the jury's decision and said the case hinged on Smart's brave testimony.
"The beginning and end of this story is attributable to a woman with extraordinary courage and extraordinary determination and that's Elizabeth Smart," said Carlie Christensen, U.S. attorney for Utah. "That young woman had the ability and willingness to recall the graphic details of the nine month captivity."
"She did it with candor and clarity and truthfulness that I think moved all of us and gave a very powerful and credible story," she said. "She is a remarkable young woman."
Elizabeth stormed out of the courtroom one time when a defense witness testified that Smart may have discussed having a child with her kidnapper.
"Wanda [Barzee] and Brian [Mitchell] were perpetually yelling at her and telling her what to do and during those nine months they would just try to indoctrinate her into these lies…and that moment in the court where that doctor was alluding to that she would discuss such a thing as having a child. I'm sorry, but that was just one of those lies where she said I'm not going to put up with it," Ed Smart said.
Her kidnapper, Mitchell, was once taken out of court by paramedics when it appeared he was having a seizure…He was also removed nearly every day for singing hymns during testimony.
The jury rejected Mitchell's insanity defense. Mitchell will be sentenced on May 25 and could face life in prison.
"It's going to be missing children's day, May 25, which I couldn't think of as being more appropriate and... letting him know, you are going to prison and you're not going to ever be able to hurt another child," Ed Smart said.
Elizabeth is headed back to Paris, France, to complete a Mormon church mission, but will return for Mitchell's sentencing.
Elizabeth Smart Jury Rejects Insanity Claim
Jurors spent just over five hours deliberating before coming to a verdict.
Jurors, intent on remaining anonymous, identified themselves only by their numerical positions on the panel, told reporters that that the trial took an emotional toll on them. Still, they said they were "honored" to help Smart get justice after so many years.
"When you sit for hours at a time and listen to incredibly unbelievable things that happened to a young lady like Elizabeth Smart you have to be pretty callous to be able to walk away without having something sticking in your heart," said Juror No. 9.
Juror No. 14 said that after the first day of testimony jurors returned to the deliberation room and did not say a word while four of five of the members were crying.
While defense attorneys never argued that Smart was not kidnapped and repeatedly raped by Mitchell, they spent much of the trial arguing that Mitchell is not mentally sane and cannot be liable for his actions.
But the prosecution in their closing arguments claimed the Mitchell is faking mental illness.
"He's a predatory chameleon with the cunning to adapt his behavior to serve his needs and desires at any given moment," Assistant U.S. Attorney Diana Hagen told the jury.
Smart Kidnapped At 14 By Brian David Mitchell
Smart was 14 when she was kidnapped from her bed in Utah. She has said she was forced to "marry" Mitchell in an impromptu ceremony shortly after the kidnapping and that he would often beg her for sex, angering his accomplice Wanda Barzee, who was jealous of the attention Mitchell gave Smart.
Remaining poised throughout her testimony, Smart detailed her nightmarish nine months with Mitchell and Barzee. She said that at one point she was confronted by a police officer looking for Elizabeth Smart and he wanted to look under the veil Mitchell made her wear. She said she was so afraid of Mitchell's death threats that she didn't speak up and was heartsick that the officer wasn't more persistent.
The officer, Det. Ron Richey, has said he was devastated to learn later that he had been looking right at Smart and didn't do more to help her.
When she was finally rescued, she initially denied her identity out of fear that Mitchell would make good on his death threats.
Barzee pleaded guilty to federal kidnapping charges last year and was later sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Alex Stone contributed to this report.