A judge has denied an Alabama woman’s motion to have murder charges against her dismissed under the state's Stand Your Ground law. 32-year-old Brittany Smith claimed to have shot and killed Todd Smith after he beat and raped her.
Brittany shot Todd in January 2018 shortly after they had reconnected. According to the prosecution, she shot him three times in her kitchen in Stevenson, near the Tennessee border, after an argument that included her, her brother and Todd.
Brittany claimed that she shot the victim because she feared he was about to kill her and her brother.
According to her lawyer Ron Smith, no relation to either the Brittany or the victim, Todd and Brittany were talking when he "got really mad" and started choking her. Ron added that his client had gotten unconscious when Todd dragged to a bedroom and choked her again before raping her.
He stated that Brittany sustained over 30 bruises during the attack, and covered many of them with clothing. According to court documents, Todd threatened to kill her if she went to the cops.
Following the assault, Ron stated, the victim asked for cigarettes, and Brittany called her brother to drive them to the store, where she wrote Todd’s name on a piece of paper and passed it to the cashier, revealing that he’d beaten and raped her.
She then asked the cashier not to call police out of fear of Todd’s retaliation if he found out. However, she asked her brother to talk to the cashier after he’d dropped her off, and he did, learning about the incident.
He headed to Brittany’s house with a gun to confront Todd, and the two fought. Brittany picked up the gun from the kitchen counter and proceeded to stop the fight by shooting Todd thrice.
Judge Jenifer Holt of state Circuit Court in Jackson county issued a 19-page ruling denying Brittany’s motion, citing what she stated were the numerous inconsistencies in Brittany’s accounts of events. Holt wrote that following the shooting, Brittany told a 911 operator that Todd did not rape her and claimed that her brother was the shooter. She then confessed to killing Todd a day after the shooting.
According to the ruling, Brittany had told a detective on the case that she heard several gunshots when Todd and her brother were fighting and then heard Todd hit the floor. According to the order, Brittany’s brother had no signs of being injured in a fight.
The order also stated that Brittany had told another detective that she shot Todd while he was on the ground, and had instructed her brother to wipe down the gun following the shooting.
The document stated that while a forensic evaluation was consistent with Brittany’s account of physical assault, the physical evidence was inconsistent with her claims that she’d been raped.
Judge Holt stated that "the court finds that the defendant has given inconsistent accounts of the events surrounding Todd's death" and "has attempted to alter or destroy evidence."
"The defendant did not credibly demonstrate that she reasonably believed it was necessary for her to use deadly force in this situation. The court finds that the defendant has failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that she was justified in using deadly physical force," it added.
Sources: NBC News