SALT LAKE CITY – Brian David Mitchell, the man who kidnapped Elizabeth Smart at knifepoint and subjected her to months of rape and abuse, is set to be sentenced Wednesday at a federal court in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Mitchell potentially faces a life sentence after he was found guilty in December for kidnapping and transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of illegal sex. Smart is expected to speak in front of Mitchell at court during the sentencing.
It has been nine years since Smart’s kidnapping because the case hit a few legal hurdles after the former street preacher was declared mentally ill and unfit in to stand trial in state court.
However, when the case was brought to federal jury, a guilty verdict was achieved.
Mitchell kidnapped Smart, who was 14 at the time, from her Salt Lake City bedroom in 2002. The kidnapping led to nine months of assaults by Mitchell, who would rape the girl numerous times during any given day.
Within hours of the kidnapping she was stripped of her favorite red pajamas, draped in white, religious robes and forced into a polygamous marriage with Mitchell, she said. She was tethered to a metal cable strung between two trees and subjected to near-daily rapes while being forced to use alcohol and drugs.
She recalled being forced to live homeless, dress in disguises and stay quiet or lie about her identity if ever approached by strangers or police. Daily, her life and those of her family members were threatened by Mitchell, she has said.
Earlier this month, Robert Steele, Mitchell's attorney, appealed to the court to lighten Mitchell’s sentencing because despite the actions of his client, “in a legal sense, the story is not the extreme psychological injury. The story is her overcoming the extreme conduct of my client.”
Mitchell’s attorney hopes his client is detained in a federal mental facility instead of a prison.
It is unclear what Smart hopes to be today’s outcome of today’s sentencing. During an interview last week with Fox13Now.com, she said, “It doesn’t matter what I think; it matters what the judge thinks.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.