A mum who killed the man who allegedly raped her multiple times is now facing life behind bars despite claiming she shot him in self-defence.
Brittany Smith, who has four children, fired three shots at Todd Smith because he was choking her brother who had fronted him up about the alleged sexual assaults at her Stevenson, Alabama, home, she says.
The 32-year-old said Smith had raped her twice while high on meth, as well as strangling her and beating her unconscious.
According to the mum-of-four she confided in her brother Chris McCallie who then confronted her alleged rapist - but a raging Smith began choking him and threatening to kill them both.
Brittany - who a sex assault nurse found had 30 wounds including bruises, bite marks and signs of strangulation - said she then fired three bullets into Smith to stop him.
She said Smith had threatened to kill her if he told anyone about the alleged rapes.
Hours later she was charged with murder before spending four months in custody and a further six on a psychiatric ward.
Her lawyers tried to dismiss the charge at a Stand Your Ground hearing in January, claiming she had shot Smith to protect herself and Chris.
Alabama law allows lethal force against a burglar believed to be a threat to safety - and Brittany's team say this applies because Smith refused to leave her home prior to being shot on January 16, 2018, reports AL.com.
However, Judge Jenifer Holt ruled the accused was standing in the kitchen between Smith and the door when she shot him, meaning he had no way of getting out.
In her 19-page order issued on Monday, the judge 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 … and has attempted to alter or destroy evidence.
“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.”
The prosecution has argued that it was McCallie who was the initial aggressor and it was him who had brought the gun.
Jeanine Suermann, the nurse who examined Brittany, concluded she couldn't determine with certainty that she had been raped despite her extensive injuries.
The judge ruled, “the physical evidence is inconsistent with the defendant’s statements about a sexual assault”, and Brittany faces a trial and potentially life in prison.
She told AL.com via phone call after the ruling: “I wouldn’t wish this on anyone."
A cashier at a petrol station had become concerned after noticing her injuries, but the defendant had pleaded with her not to tell the police.
"If the police were involved, I would be dead right now," Brittany told The New Yorker last month.
"He told me that, and after what he put me through I believed him."
She wrote his name down on some paper and told the cashier, if she was later found dead it was Smith who would be responsible.
Brittany and Chris had told officers initially that Chris shot the gun but later claimed this was because they thought women who defend themselves don't get a fair trial in Jackson County.
The trial is due to start next week but could be delayed with Brittany's legal team planning to appeal Monday's ruling.