SALT LAKE CITY (CBS/AP) A smiling Elizabeth Smart said she is thrilled and grateful for the guilty verdict against Brian David Mitchell, the man who kidnapped her at knifepoint from her parent's house when she was 14, over eight years ago.
"I'm so thrilled to stand before the people of America today and give hope to other victims who have not spoken out about what's happened to them," Smart told reporters outside the federal courthouse on Friday.
Smart read a short statement to reporters following the verdict where she praised the jury for their decision and the prosecutors for their hard work.
"I hope that not only is this an example that justice can be served in America, but that it is possible to move on after something terrible has happened," Smart said.
Smart, who aided the conviction with wrenching testimony during the trial, earlier gave a slight smile in the Salt Lake City courtroom as she heard the guilty verdicts against the wandering street preacher on charges of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines for the purposes of illegal sex.
Smart then turned to her mother and they both smiled. Elizabeth Smart later hugged prosecutors in court.Smart, now 23, flew back from her Mormon mission in Paris to take the stand, and recount her "nine months of hell."
"The beginning and the end of this story is attributable to a woman with extraordinary courage and extraordinary determination, and that's Elizabeth Smart," federal prosecutor Carlie Christensen said outside the courthouse. "She did it with candor and clarity and a truthfulness that I think moved all of us," she said.
On the witness stand, Smart described in excruciating detail how she woke up one night to the feel of a cold, jagged knife at her throat and being whisked away by Mitchell to his camp in the foothills near her family's Salt Lake City home.
Within hours of the kidnapping, she testified, she was forced into a polygamous marriage with him. She was tethered to a metal cable and subjected to near-daily rapes while being forced to use alcohol and drugs.
As the verdicts were read, a shackled Mitchell sat singing about Jesus Christ on the cross, with his hands before his chest, as if in prayer.
Mitchell could get life in prison at sentencing, which is scheduled for May 25, 2011. However, a judge also could impose an unspecified, lesser sentence, prosecutors said.