Circuit Judge Jenifer Holt denied Brittany Smith’s motions to dismiss her murder case and immunity from criminal prosecution in a 19-page court order Monday.
Smith is charged in the 2018 death of Joshua Todd Smith, 38 of Jasper, Tennessee. Brittany Smith has maintained Smith raped her, and in self-defense, she shot and killed him.
In the court order, Holt said “factors of whether the defendant was in a place where she has a right to be and whether the defendant was engaged in unlawful activity are not at issue.”
Holt said at issue was whether Brittany Smith was justified in using deadly physical force in self-defense or defense of a third person.
According to court documents, Brittany Smith, along with her brother, Chris McCallie, picked up Todd Smith after he called her from a park in South Pittsburg, Tennessee saying he needed a ride.
McCallie dropped off his sister and Todd Smith at her residence, according to testimony. From there, Brittany Smith claimed Todd Smith became angry and attacked her, including raping her.
She said later her brother took her and Smith to the store, where she saw a uniformed officer but did not say anything to him, saying she was afraid because Todd had threatened her and told her not to involve the police.
Brittany Smith said, after her brother returned her and Todd to her residence, he returned later. At that point, she claims McCallie and began fighting, testifying, “I hear a gunshot, arguing, fighting.”
According to court documents, Brittany Smith said Todd had her brother in a chokehold, and he couldn’t breathe. She said she shouted for Todd to stop, let him go and leave. At that point, she picked up McCallie’s .22 caliber revolver and shot it three times.
She testified that she called 911, and that she and McCallie did CPR on Todd until police arrived.
In her order, Holt wrote, “upon consideration of all the evidence, the court finds that the defendant has given inconsistent accounts of the events surrounding Todd’s death, beginning with the 911 call on Jan. 16, 2018 and has attempted to alter or destroy evidence.”
Holt also wrote, “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.”
According to court documents, Brittany Smith told the 911 operator that it was her brother who shot Todd Smith. She also tells the operator that Todd did not rape her.
Holt wrote that the evidence from the forensic evaluation is consistent with a physical assault in that Brittany Smith had bruising on her neck, breast and body consistent with bite marks and forcible contact.
Holt said the physical evidence is inconsistent with the Brittany Smith’s statements about a sexual assault. A SANE nurse testified that her examination of Brittany Smith revealed no genital trauma.
A toxicology report from the autopsy shows that Todd Smith had very high amounts of methamphetamines in his system.
Holt wrote in her court order that “[Brittany Smith] did not credibly demonstrate that she reasonably believed it was necessary for her to use deadly force in this situation. The court finds that the defendant has failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that she was justified in using deadly physical force.”
Ron Smith, a court-appointed attorney for Brittany Smith, told AL.com that they will appeal the ruling to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.