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Monday
May232011

Elizabeth Smart Wants to Make Sentencing Message of Hope

George Frey/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) -- When Elizabeth Smart speaks at the sentencing this week of the man who kidnapped her from her bedroom nine years ago, her words might be directed to the judge, but she hopes her message will reach others who have gone through ordeals like hers.

At Brian David Mitchell's sentencing, scheduled for Wednesday, Smart will get the final word, telling her tormenter, and the judge, about the horrors she endured and why no one should ever have to face Mitchell again.

Smart said she also knows she can serve as an example and an inspiration to others.

"I will be able to reach out and help other children, other survivors speak out about what's happened to them and give them real hope and courage to take a stand," she said.

Smart was the picture of poise throughout the trial, holding her head high while telling a jury of the horrors Mitchell put her through.  But she said she hasn't decided what she will tell the court.

"I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to say yet," she said.  "So we'll just see when the time comes."

In June 2002, Mitchell broke into the Smart house in an affluent neighborhood of Salt Lake City and kidnapped the then 14-year-old from the bedroom she shared with her sister.  For the next nine months, Mitchell, a self-proclaimed prophet, and his accomplice, Wanda Barzee, held her captive.  He claimed she had become his wife and repeatedly sexually assaulted her.

In March 2003, two women in Sandy, Utah -- just miles from Smart's home -- called police when they saw a man who they thought looked like Mitchell, whose face they knew from the extensive coverage of the girl's story.  The man was walking with a woman and a girl, all carrying rolled sleeping bags.

When police tracked the trio down, they thought the girl looked like Smart and took them into custody.

It took years for the case to finally go to trial because of questions over Mitchell's mental health.  When it finally began last year, the trial spanned five weeks, during which Smart took the stand to describe in frank language what happened during her nine-month captivity.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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