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GUILTY! Jury convicts Mitchell in Elizabeth Smart kidnapping

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - A jury has found Brian David Mitchell guilty for the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - A federal jury has found Brian David Mitchell guilty for the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart.

The jury reached the verdict after deliberating only a few hours on Thursday night and Friday morning.

Mitchell was found guilty on two counts, one for kidnapping Elizabeth Smart and another for transporting her across state lines for sexually explicit purposes.

Mitchell now faces the possibility of a life sentence for his conviction. He will be sentenced on May 25, 2011.

Mitchell was in the courtroom as the verdict was read aloud, although he was singing hymns constantly during the announcement.

U.S. Attorney Carlie Christensen spoke to reporters outside the Federal Courthouse after the verdict was announced and said she and her team were pleased with the outcome of the trial. Christensen credited a "very brave" Elizabeth Smart for the verdict.

Prosecutor Felice Viti also praised Smart for her testimony, and pointed to her testimony as the key evidence presented in the trial.

Prosecutors, jurors react

U.S. attorney press conference on Mitchell verdict (Wade Francom, ABC 4 News)
U.S. attorney press conference on Mitchell verdict (Wade Francom, ABC 4 News)
At an afternoon press conference, U.S. prosecutors again praised Elizabeth Smart for her courage and candor in testifying and assisting their team in bringing the case to a successful end.

Prosecutor Alicia Cook said the victory in court belonged to Elizabeth.

Prosecutor Felice Viti praised the jury for delivering a thoughtful, yet quick verdict.

FBI agent Jim McTighe also expressed praise for Elizabeth Smart in her testimony and assistance in the investigation, and said Elizabeth's victory was a win for all victims.

Outside the courthouse some jurors spoke with reporters. A man who identified himself as "Juror #9" said Elizabeth's testimony was the most effective evidence given in the trial than convinced the jury Mitchell was not insane at the time of the kidnapping.

Another man called "Juror #7" expressed that hearing explicit details of the atrocities suffered by Elizabeth Smart "tugged at" his heart, and said he was relieved the trial was over and ready to get back to his personal and professional life.

"Juror #14" said the verdict and end of the trial was an emotional experience for all the jurors, and again praised Elizabeth Smart for her courage.

Later in the afternoon, Elizabeth Smart spoke to reporters and said she was "..glad there is such a thing as justice in America."

Smart thanked her supporters for their prayers and said she looked forward to getting back to her mission.

Elizabeth's mother Lois and father Ed also spoke to the reporters, expressing gratitude for the verdict.

"I worry for him'

Rebecca Woodridge (ABC 4 News)
Rebecca Woodridge (ABC 4 News)
Mitchell's former stepdaughter also spoke with ABC 4 News after the verdict and said she was sad and "angry" with the outcome of the trial.

Rebecca Woodridge was abused by Mitchell when he was her stepfather and married to her mother Debbie.

Woodridge said she has forgiven Mitchell for the "repeated" abuse she suffered at his hands over a five-year period.

"I worry for him," said Woodridge.

Prosecutors argued that Mitchell was not insane and knew what he was doing was wrong as he kidnapped and repeatedly raped Elizabeth Smart in 2002 and 2003.

Defense attorneys argued that Mitchell has a mental illness (either a delusional disorder or schizophrenia), and that he condition deteriorated over the past two decades, leading up to the Smart kidnapping.

The jury, comprised of 5 women and seven men resumed their deliberations at 8:30 Friday morning and did not return to the courtroom but went directly to the jury room.

Mitchell wasn't brought into the empty courtroom and remained in a holding cell during Friday's deliberations. His attorney told ABC 4 that Mitchell said that whatever happens to him would be 'God's will.'

The verdict was announced at around 11:00 a.m. Friday.

Stay tuned to ABC 4 News and ABC4.com for the latest on the Mitchell trial.
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