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Woman Sentenced to 20 Years for Killing Her Alleged Rapist

Brittany Smith should be released to house arrest in 7 months in controversial case
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2020 4:09 AM CDT

(Newser) – Brittany Smith says that an acquaintance raped and strangled her in 2018—and that she killed him hours later, as he held her brother in a headlock and threatened to kill both of them after her brother came over to confront him. The 32-year-old Alabama mother of four on Friday pleaded guilty to murder, in a deal that will see her released on house arrest in about seven months, AL.com reports. Though Smith says she shot Todd Smith in self-defense, Law and Crime reports that the courts ruled against her after she argued that she should be immune from prosecution under the state's Stand Your Ground law. Her trial was set for next month, and if convicted, she would have faced up to life in prison.

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"My baby girl doesn’t deserve this," Smith's tearful mother said after the plea deal, which saw Smith sentenced to 20 years. The sentence was split so that 18 months will be served in Jackson County Jail (with credit given for time served while awaiting trial), 18 months on house arrest, and the rest on probation. Her case has made national headlines, with many scrutinizing how Alabama's criminal justice system treats abused women. The judge at Smith's Stand Your Ground hearing said Smith failed to prove the shooting was legally justified, and Smith's legal team was unable to have that judge, whom they argued was biased against Smith, removed from the case. The New Yorker published a lengthy piece on the case earlier this year. (Read more Alabama stories.)

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