Gun Stories Smith Vs Smith Weekly Edition 8/17-23/2020
When ever you start looking into self-defense with a firearm. You realize there is no clear winner in any case. There is always a victim and sometimes that victim can be both parties. The case of Brittany Smith vs Todd Smith is unique in many ways. I find myself unable to write it in the traditional format of two victims. This story only has one victim, and throughout this story you will see how that victimization has only been exacerbated.
What you will learn is Brittany is not a gun owner. She did not plan to use a firearm, nor was she trained in self-defense. Her only interpretation was simply that the laws of Jackson county Alabama, does not protect woman. Even Todd Smith friend, who defended his actions. Later apologized to the family after hearing the evidence in the case.
There is no second version to this story from an individual perspective. Instead the second version is that of Alabama vs Brittany Smith. I would also like to point out that there is 2 Smith’s in this story, and neither are related. We would like to see any comments on what you believe Brittany Smith could have done different in this case. If her brother Chris McCallie could have done anything to assist her after the fact and how as firearm owners, we can protect ourselves from this.
Brittany Smith Vs Todd Smith
Brittney Smith allowed Todd Smith to sleep on her couch for the night, which I will explain more below. During a conversation about her recovery from drugs. Chris took it that she was belittling him. As a result, he slapped her and called her a bitch. Brittany then ran to the bedroom in an attempt to barricade herself in, but Todd was able to force his way through the door. At which point he proceeded to choke and rape her.
So forcefully that he left over 30 documented wounds on her body. Brittany stated while fighting back she passed out from being choked and when she woke, she let him finish. Todd then decides he needs cigarettes and Brittany in an attempt to get help agrees to call and get them a ride to the store. Todd proceeded to tell her that if she told anyone he would kill her and her family.
At the store, the clerk noticed her hair being a mess, her neck was reddened, and her fingernails were broke. He asked what happened, where she told him she was raped and being held hostage. She wrote down Todd’s name and let the clerk know that if she was found dead this is who did it. She also begged the clerk not to call the police because Todd would kill her.
What Happened Next
Upon being dropped off by her brother. Brittany had told him to go speak with the clerk at the store. She was later able to text her mother “Mom Todd has tried to kill me literally,” she wrote. “Don’t act like anything is wrong . . . He will kill me if he knows.”. The reports don’t say for sure whether her brother did indeed go back and talk to the clerk. One says he did, the other says the mom sent him to help his sister. What is clear, is that her mother sent her Chris back to the house. Which he grabbed his .22 and then went back to his sisters.
Upon arriving, Chris demanded that Todd leave and while handling the gun it shot into a cabinet. Chris then sat the gun down and was trying to force Todd out of the home. Todd quickly got the upper hand and put Chris in a choking headlock. At which time he told Brittany he was going to kill them both. Brittany picked up the firearm and fired one shot, which appeared to have no effect on Todd.
She then fired twice more, at which point he fell to the ground. They called 911 – “Someone just got shot at 211 Sharon Drive,” Brittany told the operator. “He—he tried to kill me and—” . “Just have an ambulance come, please, because I don’t want this man to die.”. The operator then walked them through CPR, which they did perform. Chris did the chest compressions and Brittany did the mouth to mouth. It took police almost 30 minutes to arrive at which point Todd had passed away.
The Back Story
Prior to any of these events taking place. Brittany had a history of drug use and lost 3 of her 4 children. She had since got clean, got a decent job and found a home for them all to live. She had not retained custody at this point, but she was working hard at accomplishing this. She even decided it was time to get a puppy to go with her newly rented 4-bedroom home. She ended up speaking with an old acquaintance Todd Smith. Who happened to have two pit-bull pups at the time.
Finding a ride to Tennessee, Brittany picked up her new puppy and took it home. She later got a text from Todd stating he was stranded in a park near the border of Alabama and Tennessee. Being it was snowing and cold that night. Brittany agreed to have her brother take her to pick him up and that he could sleep on her couch for the night. For the record, she did not want to do this because he had made some unwanted advances. She would not leave him out in the cold though.
What Brittany didn’t know was that Todd had been kicked out of his home after a violent episode where he was arrested. The conversation that led to the attack was based on the fact. Todd and her were talking about the meth epidemic. Which led Brittany to explain how she fought through it and how he could still change his life around. By getting his priorities straight and hard work. This is what set Todd off and when he made the decision to attack her.
Believing that if they told the Police that Brittany was the one that shot Todd. They would delay the rape kit until it was too late, they initially said it was Chris who shot. The next day she came forward and let them know it was her that did it. She was arrested within 48 hours and charged with murder. They also made the mistake of wiping off the fingerprints from the firearm in order to cover up Brittany’s involvement. They didn’t tell the 911 operator she was raped but they did tell the police when they arrived.
One of the examiners stated that her injuries where not consistent with the story she had given. Brittany had choke marks, bite marks on her face and neck, and bruising which led to over 30 different wounds. The sexual assault nurse examiner at the hospital testified that bruises to Brittany’s neck, breasts, arms, legs, and head, were consistent with the extreme force needed to hold her down and being choked. The one issue was no semen was found, which the nurse stated that it was common not to find semen in rape cases.
Unfortunately the nurse could not conclude 100% that she was raped. The judge also felt that Brittany did not articulate the need for self-defense well enough.
The Legal Battle
The Judge Jenifer Holt determine that there was inconsistency’s in Brittany’s story. She also determined that the “Stand Your Ground Law” did not apply because she had inconsistencies in her story. She failed to prove she was raped, and she had tampered with evidence. The prosecutor tried to show that without the presence of semen, she was not raped. The judge later quoted that the lack of semen was part of her determination.
They did appeal the decision but only to be denied again. Not because the appeals court did not believe Brittany but because they had to prove wrongdoing on the Judges part. By this standard the appeals court could not legally grant her the immunity that the “Stand Your Ground” law provides in self-defense.
To be clear the “Stand Your Ground” Law in Alabama allows a person to use deadly force if a person is in danger of grave bodily harm or death. It also allows deadly force in a crime involving death, serious physical injury, robbery, kidnapping, rape, sodomy, or a crime of a sexual nature involving a child. The family feared that with the counties history of ignoring abused women and convicting them of crimes when they defended themselves. That Britany would not get a fair trial or judgement.
What was the explanation for the inconsistencies in this case? Why did her story not match the bruising, bite marks, and strangulation? Is not having semen a clear indication that she made up the rape? Later after Brittany went through this traumatic event, she was evaluated for competency. The examiner found she was not competent to stand trial and that she needed to be in a treatment center. Brittany was diagnosed with PTSD prior to the evaluation. She even claimed that the guards in the jail made fun of her for her mental state. The events that took place, caused her to have a mental break.
It was later determined that she did have memory lapse of what happened that night. If anyone is not familiar you can check out the “brains reation” here. You will find that when your brains fight or flight response kicks in there are several immediate side effects that can happen. Meaning she may not remember every little thing that did happen or how she got each and every bruise and mark. The attack as a whole, left her scared and her own mind did its job in protecting her.
She later recovered and is now able to stand trial. He lawyer is still going to appeal the decision on the “Stand Your Ground” law at the state supreme court level. They have even tried to have the original judge removed from the case due to the fact that if she loses her appeals. She will then be placed back in front of the same judge. As for the semen, the nurse already answered that in her testimony, although it was ignored by the judge and the prosecutor. She stated clearly that it was not unusual for semen not to be present in a rape case.
If we look at this from a strict self-defense case. We must understand the law and how it would apply in this case. She would not have been allowed to shoot her attacker after the threat was over. Meaning she could no longer kill him for raping her, even if in my eyes she had every right to. That said, she was still a kidnapped victim. The law also says that you can defend yourself or someone else who is in danger of grave bodily harm or death.
A few factors must be met before you can make that determination. The threat must be immediate. It must be what a reasonable person would do in that circumstance. You must be the innocent party, and it must be otherwise unavoidable. The attacker must also have the ability, opportunity, and jeopardy.
Ability means that the other person has the power to kill or to cripple you.
Opportunity means that the circumstances are such that the other person would be able to use his ability against you.
Jeopardy means that the other person’s actions or words provide you with a reasonably-perceived belief that he intends to kill you or cripple you.
Now look at it from her perspective. Her brother is being choked to death; Todd is saying he is going to kill the both of them. She knows she is powerless to stop him, and he is capable of hurting her much worse. She is still being held against her will and her captive is saying he is going to kill the only person who can help her while choking him. Knowing that, did she meet the requirements for the “Stand Your Ground” law?
Even if they lose the appeal on the “Stand Your Ground” law. Brittany could still be found not guilty by a jury, depending on what the judge allows them to hear. They may find extenuating circumstances.I ask the readers to look past the atrocities of this case and let us hear what you think would have changed this outcome. Is there something we can add to our training that would allow us to prevent this in the future? I look forward to your replies, and I thank you for reading.
Brittany did not have the means to afford an attorney in this case and even that has been a roller coaster for her. The first attorney was pushed off the case and under investigation himself. It is doubtful that her new attorney will be able to afford expert testimony. I sincerely, hope that experts like Massad Ayoob would hear of this case and get involved.
This again is another case of not having the means to protect yourself after you defended your life. Brittany was not even able to afford bail until it was lowered to 50k or 10%. Her family does not have a lot of money, and Brittany herself was working her way back to a normal life. She is now facing a bond revocation hearing due to a failed drug test. To say her life has been thrown under the bus, would be a grave understatement.