Where Is Brittany Smith Now

It’s fall in Scottsboro, Alabama, the heart of Jackson County.

It’s a quiet town, a median household income of about $43,000. But it’s rich in history. And the aftermath of one of the area’s biggest court cases is still reverberating through the people who live here.

Brittany Smith was released from a state prison this month. And her conviction still confuses some of her biggest supporters.

“This is a 30-year-old writing this,” said Sandra Goodman of a letter she wrote about her repeated sexual assaults, which began when she was about 12-years-old. “Who was really still healing.”

Goodman was one of Smith’s biggest advocates. She wrote that letter while in a sexual assault survivor support group during a time when she found herself in Smith’s shoes.

“I was 16-years-old when someone finally believed me,” she wrote. “There were so many times that he raped me, I couldn’t count them even I could remember.”

Smith was arrested in 2018 for murdering a man she claimed was trying to rape her.

She would later admit to shooting and killing Todd Smith, but she first told officers her brother was the one holding the gun.

“My brother came here and tried to…get him off of me,” she told a 911 operator when she called police about Todd’s shooting. “He’s not going to jail. He was trying to protect me.”

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In court filings, Smith described days of torment. She testified that Todd chased her to her own bedroom and threatened to kill her. She later woke up naked in her own urine.

She said Todd tried to “break her neck off the side of the bed because she tried to fight him.”

They later ended up on the floor and she said he strangled her until she was unconscious.

She accused Todd of raping her several times.

She told police how they later went to a gas station, when she wrote a note with Todd’s name on it and gave it to the clerk.

“If I’m dead in the morning, this is who did it,” she told the clerk.

Smith tried to assert what’s called a stand your ground defense, a statute adopted by about half of states. It says if you feel threatened in your own home, you’re legally able to use the same level of force to defend yourself, even if it’s deadly.

But a judge denied her defense.

“The court finds that the defendant has given inconsistent accounts of the events surrounding Todd’s death,” a judge wrote in a ruling after Smith’s stand your ground hearing. “Beginning with the 911 call on January 16, 2018, and has attempted to alter or destroy evidence.”

Smith and her brother later admitted to wiping off fingerprints from the gun used to kill Todd. They both testified it was at the instruction of the 911 call operator when police arrived at the house.

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Smith later took a plea deal and was sentenced to 20 years in a state prison. She already served three years of the split sentence, and was scheduled for release on Dec. 7.

“If you can’t use it in her case, I don’t know what case you can use it in,” said Rachel Louise Snyder, a professor at American University and author of ‘No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Could Kill us.’

In her research, Louise Snyder found as many as 90% of woman serving time for murder were convicted of killing people they accused of domestic violence and sexual assault.

“That’s what we expect from our victims, we expect them to be demure,” said Louise Snyder. “We don’t expect them to fight back. We expect them to be feminine, nice, little women who got caught in a bad situation.”

In a new documentary now showing on Netflix, Smith explains she felt as though she had no choice but to kill Todd.

The documentary makes a case for why Brittany Smith never should have been convicted of murder, and why Alabama’s stand your ground law failed her.

“At the time of her arrest, Alabama had never allowed a single woman to use stand your ground in her own defense,” said Louise Snyder.

Sandra Goodman met Smith years ago, long before her conviction, when Goodman was protesting Alabama’s probation process.

The two became friends, and eventually bonded over their shared traumas.

“They didn’t want to help Brittany,” said Goodman. “They didn’t want to believe Brittany. They wanted Brittany out of the street, and out of their hair.”

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Goodman says she doesn’t believe what she calls an engrained culture in the state will ever change. But even if it does, they said it’s too late for survivors like her and Brittany.

“When the world ends, Alabama is going to have 20 more years,” she said. “Because that’s how far behind we are.”

As part of Smith’s plea agreement, she was placed on supervised probation for five years.

Smith’s mother, Ramona McCallie, did not want to take part in this story, but said Smith was ordered to wear an ankle monitor when she was released from prison.

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