An Alabama woman has been charged with murder after she fatally shot a man — but she says that he had beaten and raped her and she shot him in self-defense under the state’s Stand Your Ground law.
Brittany Smith, 32, shot an acquaintance, Todd Smith, three times in the kitchen of her home in Stevenson, Alabama. She was arrested and charged with murder in his death.
But when she was interviewed by police, she said that she had been raped by the man and said the man was threatening to kill her and her brother.
On Monday, Jackson County Circuit Judge Jenifer Holt rejected the “Stand Your Ground” self-defense claim, citing inconsistencies in Brittany’s testimony.
“Upon consideration of all the evidence, the court finds that the defendant has given inconsistent accounts of the events surrounding Todd’s death, beginning with the 911 call … and has attempted to alter or destroy evidence,” the judge wrote, according to AL.com. “The court further finds that the defendant’s testimony about material facts was significantly at odds with the physical evidence, exhibits and other witness testimony.”
According to documents obtained by NBC News, Todd and Brittany were having a conversation in her home in January 2018. At some point, Brittany alleged, Todd “got really mad” and began choking her. Brittany’s lawyer later said she was choked unconscious and then dragged to a bedroom where Todd raped her.
Brittany then told police that Todd had threatened to kill her if she went to the police.
After the alleged assault, Brittany and her brother took Todd to the store to buy cigarettes. While inside the store, Brittany allegedly told the cashier that Todd had raped her. After the cashier told Brittany’s brother about the alleged rape, the brother went to Brittany’s house armed with a gun to confront Todd. At some point, the two men began fighting; Brittany said Todd was holding her brother in a headlock while threatening to kill them. Brittany told police she then grabbed her gun from the counter and shot Todd three times.
He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
A nurse who treated Brittany at the hospital testified that she had bruises, bite marks and signs of strangulation, but they could not determine definitively if a rape had occurred. According to AL.com, the nurse testified that most sexual assault cases lack physical proof.
According to CBS News, Brittany faces life in prison if she is convicted.
Brittany’s attorney, Ron Smith (who is not related to either Brittany or Todd), told NBC News that he plans to appeal the judge’s decision and hopes to have the charges dismissed before her Feb. 10 trial.