In January 2018, a shooting at a house in Stevenson, Alabama, had the authorities rushing to the place, but what followed was far from a straightforward investigation. Todd Smith was found dead at the scene, with the person pulling the trigger claiming it was in self-defense. However, the police thought otherwise. Netflix’s ‘State of Alabama vs. Brittany Smith’ thus focuses on this complex case, all the while exploring the Stand Your Ground law in addition to how the judicial system in Alabama allegedly treats abused and battered women. So, if you’re wondering what happened, we’ve got you covered.
How Did Todd Smith Die?
Joshua Todd Smith was born in Jasper, Tennessee, in March 1979. He studied at Marion County High School in his hometown, and his parents divorced when he was a kid. Growing up, Todd was close to his cousin Jeff Poe, and the two spent most of their time exploring the wilderness and drinking. Over time, though, according to the Netflix original documentary, he began having trouble with drugs and violence, including dozens of arrests for the same. At the time of the incident, Todd was breeding pit bulls.
On January 15, 2018, Todd called an acquaintance, Brittany Smith (unrelated), to pick him up from a park in Tennessee because he had nowhere else to go. Todd then went to her home, and in the early hours of January 16, she called 911 to report he had been shot. The 38-year-old was found unresponsive on the kitchen floor with Brittany and her brother at the scene. He’d taken three bullet wounds to his body.
Who Killed Todd Smith?
Brittany, a mother of four who had steadily been recovering from drug addiction, told the officials that she had picked up a pit bull puppy from Todd the day before. He called her on the evening of January 15, asking for a ride, but failed to mention being kicked out by his father or getting arrested following an altercation. She admitted she was hesitant at first because Todd, an old high school acquaintance, had previously expressed romantic interest in her, and she’d turned him down. Still, she ultimately decided to help him out anyway.
Brittany told Todd he could spend the night on her couch but had to leave the next day. While at her home, they spoke about the local, extensive drug crisis, and he shared he still struggled with the same. According to her, she asked him to reconsider his priorities because her own life was looking up since she’d gotten clean, at which point he changed. She claimed that Todd asked her if she thought she was better than him before headbutting her. That’s when Brittany said she ran to her bedroom and locked the door.
But Todd reportedly got in anyway and choked her until she blacked out. When she regained consciousness, she realized that she was naked and he was raping her with his hands still around her throat. Brittany alleged he threatened to kill her if she talked or even breathed wrong, but she fought back anyway, resulting in him choking her out again. She later said, “Then I woke back up and let him finish what he was doing, and his whole face changed; he was normal.”
Brittany claimed that Todd threatened to kill her family and her children if she talked about what happened before adding he wanted to smoke. So, she contacted her mother, Ramona McCallie, who asked Chris McCallie, Brittany’s brother, to help out. Chris drove the duo to a convenience store, and that’s where she discreetly told the clerk, Paige Painter, that she’d been assaulted by Todd yet urged her not to call the police.
Once Chris dropped them home, Brittany asked him to return to the store and speak with Paige. When he learned about what happened, he went back to his sister’s house to confront Todd. He did accidentally fire his .22-caliber firearm while asking the latter to leave, but it has been alleged that the 38-year-old didn’t even budge. The two men subsequently got into a scuffle, and Todd eventually had him in a headlock. Brittany then picked up the weapon and asked Todd to let her brother go. But when he didn’t, she opened fire and ended up killing him.
While Brittany maintained she shot in self-defense because she felt like Todd would’ve killed her and Chris, the police charged her with murder. After that, she pursued a Stand Your Ground defense, resulting in a proper hearing. It came out that Todd had Xanax, amphetamines, alcohol, and meth in his system. As of that’s not enough, he had a history of arrests for domestic abuse, with his ex-wife accusing him of repeatedly beating, raping, and sodomizing her and, at one point, duct-taping her to a chair and threatening to throw her into a river.
Furthermore, the nurse who examined Brittany after the alleged rape testified she had a total of 33 injuries across her breasts, arms, legs, and pelvis. There was also evidence of strangulation, bite marks on her neck, and secretions in her vagina. On the other hand, the prosecution brought up the fact Brittany initially claimed Chris was the triggerman. At the time of the incident, the siblings believed the former wouldn’t get a fair trial in such a case because of her gender and where they lived, but it came back to haunt them at this particular hearing.
Not just that, it was reported that several women who dealt with assaults or domestic abuse were treated like they were to blame when they went to file an official complaint. Some other women didn’t even trust law enforcement enough to raise the issue. As for Brittany, the judge ultimately ruled against her receiving the Stand Your Ground immunity, citing that there had been inconsistencies in her statements over time. Therefore, Brittany, who was adamant about not taking a plea deal, took one in October 2020. At the time, she felt it was better than going to trial, deeming it the lesser of two evils. Ultimately, Brittany received an 18-month sentence followed by 18 months of house arrest, so she was released from jail in May 2021.
Read More: Where is Brittany Smith Now?