Alabama Woman Claims Self-Defense After Killing Man She Says Raped Her During Brutal Attack
“I did what I thought I had to do, what I did have to do, no doubt in my mind,” Brittany Smith insists of fatally shooting Todd Smith.
On Jan. 16, 2018, Brittany Smith was happy and hanging out with her brother, Chris McCallie, in Stevenson, Alabama. Though she had struggled with substance abuse in the past, she was getting her life back on track and was looking forward to beginning a new job and regaining custody of her children.
That day, she received a call from an old acquaintance, Todd Smith, who was not related to Brittany or her family. He asked her for a ride since he was stranded and didn’t have anyone else to call for help. Brittany had recently rejected Todd’s romantic advances, and her brother told her not to pick him up.
“I just had a gut feeling that something was going to happen,” Chris told The New Yorker in a 2020 interview.
What Todd didn’t mention to Brittany was that he had been arrested after getting into a violent altercation with his father, who then kicked him out of their house.
Brittany agreed to help Todd and told him he could sleep on her couch for the night. She and Chris went and got him, and then her brother dropped the two off at Brittany’s house and left.
According to Brittany, she and Todd were talking when the conversation turned to her past meth use and his current drug habit. At one point, according to The New Yorker, she advised him to get “his priorities together.”
Brittany said Todd bristled and asked her if she thought she were better than him. He allegedly attacked her, head-butted her and choked her until she lost consciousness. When she woke up, Brittany said, Todd was raping her and threatening to kill her if she told anyone what was happening.
Brittany reportedly fought back during the assault, breaking several of her fingernails off and suffering multiple injuries. She said she passed out a second time when Todd choked her again. “Then I woke back up, and let him finish what he was doing,” Brittany told The New Yorker. “And his whole face changed, he was normal.”
Feigning that everything was okay, Brittany managed to call her family after telling Todd —now allegedly threatening to kill her loved ones if she said anything — that she would have someone come give them a ride so she could get him the cigarettes he wanted.
Brittany’s brother Chris arrived, and while he and Todd sat in his vehicle, she went into a gas station and wrote on a piece of paper Todd’s name and the rape allegations. She then gave the slip to the clerk and made her promise not to say anything. “If the police were involved, I would be dead right now,” Brittany later claimed. “He told me that, and after what he put me through, I believed him.”
Back at Brittany’s home, she told her brother to go see the clerk and he left Todd and his sister. Chris went back to the gas station and learned about his sister’s allegations in the note.
Chris returned to Brittany’s home armed with a .22-caliber revolver. Chris demanded Todd leave, but he refused and the two men began wrestling. Todd overpowered Chris and was choking him when Brittany grabbed her brother’s gun and fired multiple times.
“Someone just got shot at 211 Sharon Drive,” Brittany told a dispatcher after calling 911 and claiming Todd “tried to kill me.”
“Just have an ambulance come, please, because I don’t want this man to die,” she added, according to The New Yorker.
Together, the siblings tried to save Todd’s life — Chris did chest compressions, and Brittany performed CPR — but he died about the time officers arrived, roughly 30 minutes after Brittany called for help.
Brittany told officers Todd had sexually assaulted her and, The New Yorker reported, a rape kit showed Brittany had multiple injuries, including bite marks on her chin and neck, bruising to her breasts, arms, legs, and other areas of her body, and secretions on her vagina and neck. There was evidence of possible strangulation.
Despite the documented injuries, police charged Brittany with Todd’s murder less than two days later.
Sandra Goodman, a local rape-victim advocate who worked on Brittany’s case, told The New Yorker that female victims of violence in the county where the incident occurred are often frustrated because authorities allegedly fail to acknowledge their complaints. “A lot of the time, they take the woman’s statement and that’s where it stops,” Goodman claimed.
Officials have denied the allegations.
A grand jury indicted Brittany for Todd’s murder in March 2018. Brittany insisted she shot Todd to protect both herself and her brother and claimed the killing was legally justified under Alabama’s Stand Your Ground law.
“I did what I thought I had to do, what I did have to do, no doubt in my mind,” Brittany said of killing Todd, who had a long history of domestic violence as well as at least 80 arrests, according to The New Yorker.
In October 2019, the district attorney offered Brittany a plea deal of 25 years behind bars if she pleaded guilty to murder, but she refused.
In January 2020, Brittany attended her Stand Your Ground hearing, where she testified about the alleged attack and rape two years earlier and how she shot Todd when he was choking her brother. A nurse also testified about the dozens of injuries the sexual assault exam showed Brittany sustained, al.com reported.
Despite the testimony, the judge denied Brittany’s request for immunity under the state’s self-defense law, ruling she had failed to prove her claims that the murder was justified.
“She saw the pictures of me; he almost beat me to death, he did rape me, and he tried to kill my brother, so how can she say this?” Brittany asked The New Yorker after the judge’s decision.
Shortly before she was set to go on trial, Brittany, facing a possible sentence of life behind bars, took a plea deal and admitted guilt to Todd’s murder. She was sentenced to time served while awaiting trial, or 18 months, as well as an additional 18 months of house arrest.
Brittany, 35, was released from prison in May 2021 to begin house arrest, but she has since been arrested three times on probation violations, including for attempting to falsify a drug screen, the Jackson Sentinel reported.
She is currently set to be released from jail in December 2022, according to the publication.