The Alabama woman who fatally shot a man who she said he was strangling her brother hours after raping her has pleaded guilty to murder in the case.
Brittany Smith, 32, pleaded guilty on Friday and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with all but 18 months suspended. With credit for time served, she will serve seven more months in the Jackson County Jail.
She admitted to fatally shooting Todd Smith, no relation, early on January 16, 2018, but had sought a Stand Your Ground defense, saying that Todd had raped her hours earlier and was in the process of choking her brother, who came to her home to confront Todd about the sexual assault.
If convicted by a jury, Brittany had faced up to life in prison.
'We have no control over a jury or a judge that would sentence her,' said Brittany's attorney Ron Smith, also no relation, in an interview with AL.com. 'In any case, you've got to weigh what you know and can control with what you can't.'
Brittany's mother, Ramona McCallie, told the publication that she was heartbroken at the outcome of the case, breaking down in tears. 'My baby girl doesn't deserve this,' she said.
Jackson County Circuit Judge Jenifer Holt had refused to step down from the case after she alleged the defendant tried to 'alter or destroy evidence'.
Declining to dismiss Brittany's murder charges, Judge Holt wrote in February: '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.'
Judge Holt added: '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.
'The physical evidence is inconsistent with the defendant's statements about a sexual assault.'
Brittany's bail on the murder charge was revoked after she was arrested on an unrelated arson charge.
She said she fatally shot Todd while he was holding her brother in a headlock and threatening to kill them all, according to testimony given at a court hearing.
Brittany's brother was at the house to confront Todd, who was accused of raping, strangling and assaulting her earlier in the night, and threatening to kill her if she told anyone.
Brittany's lawyers had argued that she should be granted immunity under Alabama's Stand Your Ground Law because she feared Todd Smith would kill her or her brother.
But the judge said that Brittany Smith did not need to use lethal force to end the altercation, and that her brother was also an aggressor because he brought a weapon to the home and started the confrontation.
In the murder case, prosecutors argued in court that Brittany's brother McCallie was the one who initiated the confrontation with Todd Smith during the January 2018 killing.
They said that because he brought the gun to the scene, Brittany was not entitled to Stand Your Ground.
In the grisly case Brittany claims Todd Smith, 38, choked her to the point of unconsciousness and raped her in her home in Stevenson Alabama on January 15, 2018 and threatened to kill her if she told anybody.
The next day on January 16 Brittany's brother Chris McCallie went to her house to confront Todd after she told him what happened.
Brittany says she fired her brother's gun three times at Todd while he was holding her brother in a headlock and he was turning blue
After the incident a sexual assault nurse documented more than 30 injuries on Brittany including bruises, bite marks and signs of strangulation.
But the nurse couldn't determine with certainty if Brittany had been raped, but noted that most sexual assault cases lack physical proof.
The judge ruled that the evidence was consistent with physical assault, but inconsistent with sexual assault.
DailyMail.com uncovered a disturbing history of violent crime and domestic assault committed by Todd Smith against multiple women spanning decades.
Court and arrest records in his hometown of Jasper, Tennessee, just across the state border from Brittany's home in Alabama, reveal that Smith, 38, had been arrested a staggering 71 times since 1999.
In July 2002 he embarked on a brief and violent marriage to Paige Parker, 37. Smith was arrested five times in the course of the marriage that lasted less than one year and ended in divorce in June 2003.
Smith also fathered a child by a woman, Amanda Reed, with whom his relationship was clearly every bit as turbulent.
He was charged with domestic assault against Reed three times, in 2012, 2015 and 2016, but on two of those occasions the charges were dismissed as, court records noted, 'Victim has not been coming to court dispite (sic) officer's best efforts.'
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.