Elizabeth Smart Confronts Abductor in Packed Courtroom

PHOTO: Elizabeth Smart confronted her abductor before he was sentenced to life in prison.
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Nearly nine years after being kidnapped and held in a state of sexual slavery she describes as "my nine months of hell", Elizabeth Smart addressed her former captor face-to-face in a packed Salt Lake City courtroom, just moments before he was sentenced to life in prison.

Brian David Mitchell, the homeless street preacher convicted of kidnapping Smart, sang a hymn and gently rocked in his chair as Elizabeth's father Ed and then Elizabeth herself took turns addressing him.

"I hope at some time in your life you find what you have done is wrong," said Ed Smart. "Whether during your time on earth or in eternity, you're going to have to face the guilt."

Next, Elizabeth slowly walked to a podium to pick up a microphone before calmly turning to face Mitchell, who continued singing. It was the first time the 23-year-old has directly addressed Mitchell, who did not appear to look at her as she spoke.

"I don't have very much to say to you," Elizabeth Smart began. "I know exactly what you did. I know that you know what you did was wrong. You did it with a full knowledge. I also want you to know that I have a wonderful life now."

"You took away nine months of my life that can never be returned," she continued. "But in this life or next, you will have to be held responsible for those actions, and I hope you are ready for when that time comes."

Addressing reporters outside the courthouse after the hearing, Elizabeth appeared relieved.

"Today is the ending of a long chapter and the very beginning of a new chapter," she said, her father standing by her sid.

Smart said she recently completed a mission for the Mormon church and plans to continue working as a child advocate to help stop and prevent kidnapping and sexual abuse.

Before Wednesday's sentencing hearing got underway, Elizabeth sat with her parents, brothers and sisters in the front row of the packed courtroom. She smiled and seemed in good spirits.

When Mitchell was brought into the courtroom wearing a tan prison jumpsuit, handcuffs and shackles, Smart sat stone-faced, staring straight ahead.

Mitchell began singing as soon as he walked in, providing a bizarre background soundtrack for the remainder of the proceedings until he was led out.

The sentence of life in prison was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Dale Kimball. Before sentencing, Kimball asked Mitchell if he had anything to say. Mitchell continued singing and did not answer.

Today's proceedings are part of a final chapter in a story that began in the early morning hours of June 5, 2002, when a 14-year old Smart was kidnapped at knifepoint from her family's Salt Lake City home.

During the four-week federal trial last fall, Smart testified that she endured "nine months of hell" that started when Mitchell forced her to become one of his wives. She said she was raped and sexually assaulted almost daily and made to smoke marijuana, drink alcohol and watch pornography.

Smart said she was also tethered to a tree and told she'd be killed if she tried to escape.

Smart testified that she once came agonizingly close to being rescued when a Salt Lake City police detective saw her at a library with Mitchell and his now-estranged wife Wanda Barzee.

Smart was wearing a veil hiding her face. When the detective asked her to raise the veil, Mitchell objected on religious grounds. The detective eventually gave up and left.

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