Judge nixes Alabama woman’s self-defense claim in killing man she says raped her; murder trial to proceed

Published 10:24 am Tuesday, February 4, 2020

An Alabama judge denied a request to dismiss murder charges against a woman who said she killed a man because he raped her and attacked her brother.

Jackson County Circuit Judge Jenifer Holt rejected the self-defense claim of Brittany Smith on Monday, citing records that allege Smith tried to destroy evidence and also gave testimony that didn’t line up with medical evaluations and other evidence from the scene, Al.com reported.

Brittany Smith’s case will proceed to trial, which was scheduled for Feb. 10, and she could spend up to life in prison if convicted of fatally shooting Todd Smith in 2018, news outlets reported. Brittany Smith’s attorneys said they planned to appeal the ruling. Brittany and Todd Smith are not related.

Brittany Smith said she fatally shot Todd Smith while he was holding her brother in a headlock and threatening to kill them all, according to testimony given at a recent court hearing. Brittany Smith’s brother was at the house to confront Todd Smith, who was accused of raping, strangling and assaulting her earlier in the night, and threatening to kill her if she told anyone.

Brittany Smith’s lawyers 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 argued 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.