An Alabama woman who fatally shot a man she claimed was strangling her brother hours after raping her has said she only pleaded guilty to murder as it was ‘the lesser of two evils’.
Brittany Smith, 32, took a sudden plea deal earlier in October and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with all but 18 months suspended.
Yet she has maintained that she acted in self defense when she shot Todd Smith, no relation, in her home on early on January 16, 2018.
‘I’m really disappointed with having to take a plea deal,’ Brittany told Alabama.com in a video interview from jail. ‘I’m not a murderer but when it’s the lesser of two evils what can you do?’
Brittany Smith, 32, (pictured) pleaded guilty earlier this month to the murder of Todd Smith, 38
She claimed that Todd, no relation, raped her hours in her home hours before she shot him
She is serving time in the Jackson County Jail in Scottsboro, Alabama, pictured
She admitted to fatally shooting Todd, 38, but had sought a Stand Your Ground defense, saying that he 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.
With credit for time served, she will only serve seven more months in the Jackson County Jail and is expected to be released sometime next spring.
If she successfully completes probation, she can avoid state jail altogether.
Yet, if she had been convicted by a jury, Brittany had faced up to life in prison.
The mother of four says that in the end, she couldn’t risk spending more time in jail, although she had believed that a jury would acquit her of the murder.
Earlier this year, Brittany and her legal team had unsuccessfully attempted to have the judge on the murder case recuse herself.
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’ in a 19-page order.
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 (left) lost an appeal to have Jackson County Circuit Judge Jenifer Holt (right) removed from the case after the judge said she had tried to ‘alter or destroy evidence’
Brittany maintains her innocence and says she only took the plea deal for shorter jailtime
The defense argued that this had denied Brittany a right to a fair trial but an appellate court upheld Holt’s decision not to step down.
As her November trial approached, her lawyers Ron Smith and James Mick visited her in prison to tell her that nothing could be guaranteed.
She felt the plea deal was her best option and suddenly accepted on October 6.
‘They knew that it wasn’t going to be fair here either,’ she said. ‘So I just took the lesser of the options I had.’
Brittany also accepts that her murder charge will now stay with her, making it harder for her life to continue on her release.
‘It’s going to be really hard for me to get a job and get my kids back,’ said Brittany.
‘I know that my family will let me visit my kids but as far as them coming home to mommy, it’s not going to happen anytime soon.
‘I’m relieved that my kids and my family can just kind of move forward, and I’m relieved that I can move forward. But it’s still really hard,’ she added.
Brittany (pictured left) claimed her brother Chris McCallie came to confront Todd after she informed him about the rape and she shot Todd after he put her brother in a headlock
The siblings, pictured together above, initially claimed McCallie shot Todd
Brittany said that she’s hopeful one day that she will receive a pardon to clear her conviction.
‘This is gonna be in my past soon,’ she said. ‘It’s gonna be behind me. It’s a good feeling. After the rough waters, smooth sailing.’
Brittany had known Todd, who was from Jasper, Tennessee, as a teen but they had reconnected a few days before his death when she bought a puppy from him. Todd worked as a pit-bull breeder.
She testified that Todd was spending the night with her because he had nowhere else to go after she and her brother Chris McCallie picked him up from a snowy park just across the state line in Tennessee.
McCallie then allegedly dropped Brittany and Todd back at her house, but when they were alone, Todd attacked her.
She claimed he choked her to the point of unconsciousness and raped her in her home in Stevenson, threatening to kill her if she told anybody.
Brittany Smith said that Todd Smith (above) raped her hours before she killed him
Todd Smith, pictured, had a disturbing history of violent crime and domestic assault
When he wanted cigarettes after the alleged assault, Brittany called her brother for a ride to bring them to the convenience store, where she left a note with the cashier saying that if she was found dead, Todd was responsible.
When they arrived home, Brittany said she told her brother to go back to the store and speak to the cashier.
McCallie soon returned to Brittany’s house with a gun to confront Todd and it escalated.
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.
Brittany, pictured with an unidentified child, said that she accepts it will be hard to get her four children back after accepting the plea deal for murder
Initially, the siblings told cops that McCallie had fired the gun but Brittany confessed the next days and was charged with murder.
Her bail on the murder charge was revoked after she was arrested on an unrelated arson charge.
She was indicted by a grand jury on the murder charge two months later.
McCallie was not charged with murder but with making a false report to law enforcement and tampering with evidence after it was claimed he wiped down the gun.
His case is still pending.
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.
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.
Pictured, Brittany Smith and Chris McCallie. McCallie’s case on charges of making a false report to law enforcement and tampering with evidence is still pending
Brittany Smith, pictured, hopes she will eventually be pardoned for the murder conviction
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.’