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Prosecutors for the U.S. Attorney's Office on Wednesday asked a federal judge to hand down the maximum sentence next week to convicted kidnapper and rapist Brian David Mitchell: life in prison.
In a 36-page court filing, prosecutors argued that the 57-year-old street preacher deserves more than the 30-year minimum suggested by sentencing guidelines, which are cited in a presentence report completed by a federal probation officer.
Sentencing is set for Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball.
A 12-person jury convicted Mitchell in December of felony kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity for the June 5, 2002 abduction of then-14-year-old Elizabeth Smart. Mitchell took the girl to make her a plural wife, according to testimony from Mitchell's December trial.
"A life sentence is necessary to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant," prosecutors wrote. " … the defendant is a pedophile who has victimized not only Ms. Smart, but other children as well.
"Not only is the defendant a recidivist, but his refusal to acknowledge the wrongfulness of his conduct poses an even greater risk of future crimes against children. This defendant cannot be released back into society."
Prosecutors also noted Smart's vulnerability at the time of her abduction.
"The defendant knew Ms. Smart was particularly vulnerable to his crimes because of the unusually heinous, cruel, brutal, degrading and humiliating abuse to which he subjected her," prosecutors wrote. "The defendant rendered her vulnerable by intentionally creating a climate of fear for her own safety and that of her family. When he first abducted her, he held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her and her family. Throughout her captivity, he continually threatened to kill her and her family."
Prosecutors also cited the unrelenting sexual abuse Smart endured at the hands of Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee.
Smart was raped after Mitchell marched her to a campsite in the mountains, and was sexually assaulted almost daily during her nine-month captivity. Smart also was forced to walk around the camp naked, had to watch Mitchell and Barzee engage in sexual acts as a way to "educate" her, was forced to perform oral sex on Mitchell and was forced to view pornography, prosecutors wrote.
Mitchell also tried to destroy Smart's identity by taking away physical possessions that linked her to her former life, including a pair of favorite red pajamas that Mitchell forced her to burn, prosecutors wrote.
Prosecutors said Mitchell also deserves a harsher sentence for creating "a false appearance of incompetency." They claim Mitchell's theatrics in court, including singing hymns, which led to him being removed from the courtroom, was a tactic to try to convince the jury that he couldn't control his behavior.
The defense has filed documents arguing Mitchell did not cause "extreme psychological injury" to Smart, pointing to Smart's public comments of how she survived her ordeal.
Smart, now 23, who recently completed a mission in France for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is expected to speak at the sentencing hearing.
Elizabeth Smart archive: