In a shocking turn, a judge has upheld murder charges against a rape victim who killed her attacker. Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Hold rejected the "stand your ground" defense after Brittany Smith, 32, shot the man who had strangled and sexually assaulted her at her home in Stevenson, Alabama.
Brittany claimed that she had no choice but to shoot 38-year-old Joshua “Todd” Smith, who is of no relation to her, after he had raped and sodomized her. She alleged that she killed her attacker only because he was attempting to murder her brother, Chris McCallie, who had come to her aid after the sexual assault.
Her court-appointed lawyers cited a law that states that an individual no longer has "a duty to retreat" and may use deadly force if confronted with an imminent threat. They argued that the murder charge should be dropped because Brittany was reasonably in fear for her and her brother's lives. However, the prosecutor argued that Brittany wasn't covered by the law because Todd was unarmed, AL.com reports.
Both Brittany and Todd had struggled with drug addiction. The pair were acquaintances who reconnected just days before the deadly encounter when Brittany bought one of his pitbull puppies. She testified that she had reluctantly agreed to let him spend the night at her home after he told her that he was stranded at a nearby park.
A toxicologist confirmed that Todd had a "very high amount" of meth in his system when he died, which Brittany attributed to his alleged violent behavior just before his death. She claimed that he head-butted her and chased her into her bedroom, where he choked her until she passed out. When she regained consciousness, she was lying in a pool of her own urine as Todd raped her.
"He told me not to say a f—ing word and if I even breathe wrong he'd kill me," Brittany said under oath.
A sexual assault exam found more than 30 injuries on Brittany’s chest, breasts, legs, arms, feet, and throat. She had hand-print and bite marks all over her body, along with difficulty swallowing and opening her jaw. It was confirmed that she had been strangled, beaten, and held down as she was raped. She has since been diagnosed with PTSD.
"I feel like it's an extensive amount of injuries" for a sexual assault victim, the nurse testified.
Brittany testified that she was too afraid to report the rape, as Todd had threatened her life. When her brother found out soon after, he arrived at Brittany's home with a .22-caliber revolver and confronted Todd in the kitchen. She testified that Todd "beat the hell out of" McCallie and put him in a headlock, which caused him to turn blue.
It was then that she says she grabbed her brother's gun and shot Todd four times in the arm, shoulder, and chest. Before his death, Todd amassed an extensive and disturbing criminal record. He was arrested 71 times since 1999 for charges involving drugs, DUI, shoplifting, and domestic assault against multiple women.
Despite Brittany Smith's horrific injuries, prosecutors pointed to her failure to immediately report her rape and inconsistencies in her testimony as a cause for suspicion. They added that Todd was unarmed and that hands and fists don't qualify as deadly weapons. The case has sparked heated debate concerning self-defense and what is considered a reasonable threat or a deadly weapon.
However, her supporters are calling her a hero, saying she saved herself and countless other women future suffering at the hands of an inhumane monster.They also suggested that she should be compensated for all she's been through as a result of a miscarriage of justice and that the judge should be permanently disbarred.