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People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Wednesday December 17, 2014 10:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- November 29, 2010
- Vol. 74
- No. 20
Elizabeth Smart: Facing Her Nightmare
Eight Years Later the Former Kidnap Victim Describes Her Ordeal in Court-and Fights for Justice at Last
Despite her calm performance, her nine hours of testimony over three days were harrowing. Poised and confident, Smart recounted how Brian David Mitchell, now 57, forced her from her bed at knifepoint on June 5, 2002, and proceeded to turn her happy, innocent childhood into a relentless nightmare. On a daily basis, she testified, he raped her "up to three or four times," using drugs and alcohol to lower her resistance. When he wasn't sexually abusing her, Smart said, he sometimes kept her tethered to a tree. To ensure compliance, she testified, Mitchell threatened to kill both her and her family. Elizabeth's father, Ed Smart, told PEOPLE shortly after his daughter wrapped up her testimony on Nov. 10, "I'm really proud of her, and I'm glad it's over."
Smart plans to monitor the remainder of the trial as a courtroom spectator, then will return to Paris to complete her LDS mission, which ends in April. She will resume her music studies at Brigham Young University next fall. Her life now, as she told PEOPLE before she began her mission, is about the future. "When [the trial] is over, I don't want to think about it anymore," she said. "I feel like I'm turning a new page in my life."
- Cathy Free/Salt Lake City.
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