"She was graceful, remarkable and strong, and gave powerful testimony," U.S. Attorney Brett Tolman said about Elizabeth Smart.
Elizabeth Smart, who was abducted from her home seven years ago, described publicly on Wednesday for the first time details of her time during her captivity, which included several months in an abandoned trailer in Lakeside.
Smart appeared in district court in Salt Lake City for a hearing to determine if the man accused of kidnapping and raping her is competent to stand trial. A judge ruled earlier this week that testimony from Smart is relevant in the issue of Brian David Mitchell's mental competency.
The young girl told the court she was taken at knifepoint from her home in Salt Lake City and also talked about what happened after Mitchell allegedly abducted her. Smart testified Wednesday that Mitchell, a homeless street preacher, was driven by sex, not religion.
For her family sitting in the courtroom, it was a difficult story to hear.
"There were a lot of things I'd never heard before,” her father, Ed Smart, said later in the day. “I had no idea of what she had been through."
Mitchell has refused to take psychological evaluations and has twice been found incompetent in state court.
“It is the position of the United States that he has attempted to fool or deceive the system," Tolman said.
Smart was 14 when she was kidnapped and taken to a camp 3 miles from her home, to allegedly become Mitchell's second wife. She said she was raped repeatedly each day and told she would be killed if she yelled or tried to escape.
A massive search was carried out with thousands of volunteers after she went missing.
During her time with her alleged abductors, the three were spotted in Lakeside, wearing white robes. Mitchell had been arrested a month earlier for breaking into a Lakeside church. He gave authorities a fake name, pleaded guilty and eventually was released. Sheriff's deputies said they ran his fingerprints, but Mitchell had no outstanding warrants and they had no reason to believe Smart was in the San Diego area.
Nine months later after Smart was abducted, Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, were found with Smart, walking along a street in a Salt Lake City suburb. Barzee has also been found incompetent to stand trial, according to several report.s
Now 21, Smart said her faith has sustained her.
"No matter what people can take from you or do to you or harm you, they can't take that away," Smart said.
Smart has tried to put her ordeal in the past and plans to travel to Europe this fall on a missionary trip.