Sane and Sinister: Jury Convicts Elizabeth Smart Kidnapper, Rejects Insanity Argument

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A full eight years after the kidnapping case captured the attention of a nation, a rambling street preacher has been convicted of the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart. 

Smart, herself now 23, attended the entire trial, gave gripping testimony, and offered a slight smile as the guilty verdicts were read, condemning Brian David Mitchell of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines for the purposes of illegal sex. She later gave the prosecutors a hug in the courtroom.

As the verdict was read, Mitchell remained seated, singing hymns about Jesus Christ. He appeared to be praying.

(More at NewsFeed: Elizabeth Smart’s case makes the top 10 crime stories of 2010)

The sordid tale began on June 5, 2002, when the Smart family realized someone had cut the screen of a kitchen window and abducted Elizabeth in the dead of night. The shocking story galvanized the country — prompting even a TIME magazine cover story. When Smart took the stand earlier in the trial, she divulged that she was forced into a polygamous marriage with Mitchell, and raped repeatedly.

Mitchell’s attorneys freely admitted that their client had indeed abducted Smart; instead, they said, his mental state should be taken into account. They noted he was ill, and could not be held responsible, imploring the jury to find a verdict of “not guilty by reason of insanity.”

But Friday’s guilty verdict rejected the insanity defense. Now Mitchell could be sent away to serve life in prison, when he is sentenced in May. (via the Associated Press)

More at NewsFeed: Elizabeth Smart’s heartbreaking courtroom testimony