A US woman is facing life in jail after a judge denied her request to base her defence on the controversial "Stand Your Ground" laws after she shot and killed a man who had brutally raped her and had her brother in a headlock when she fired the fatal shots.
Brittany Smith, 32, a mother of four from Alabama, would have received immunity from prosecution for the death of 38-year-old Todd Smith if her bid was successful but will now go to trial, facing a sentence of 20 years to life if convicted.
Judge Jenifer Holt ruled that Smith was not justified in shooting Todd Smith because she doubted that she had reason to believe that he was about to use deadly physical force, assault, burglary, rape, or sodomy when she fired the fatal shots.
The ruling comes despite the fact that Brittany Smith had already been brutally raped and assaulted.
She told The New Yorker that she was trying to remain hopeful, saying: "I was prepared for a no, but I just feel like I'm not gonna get a fair trial here."
"She saw the pictures of me; he almost beat me to death, he did rape me, and he tried to kill my brother, so how can she say this?"
"I just had a gut feeling that something was going to happen"
Brittany Smith revealed the details of her horrifying ordeal in an earlier interview with the New Yorker before the judge's ruling.
The incident occurred on a snowy day in January 2018 in the town of Stevenson, Alabama.
Smith was with her brother Chris McCallie when she received a call from an old acquaintance who bred pit bulls. Smith had visited him the day before and taken home a puppy.
That man, 38-year-old Todd Smith, said he was stranded and freezing and asked the pair for a ride.
Brittany had recently rejected Smith after he expressed romantic feelings for her, and McCallie warned his sister against it.
"I just had a gut feeling that something was going to happen," he told the New Yorker.
Despite the concern, the pair picked Todd up, telling him he could sleep on the couch.
After McCallie dropped the pair off at Brittany's home, they gave the puppy a bath and discussed their journey in recovering from meth addiction.
Brittany was now clean and was advising Todd on how to beat his own demons when he snapped, calling her a bitch and head-butting her.
She ran and sought refuge in her bedroom, where an enraged Todd, who had a long history of violence, smashed through the door, threw her on the bed and choked her until she passed out.
When she came to, she was naked and Todd was raping her, his hands gripped around her throat.
She told him: "We're friends" - but he mockingly repeated the phrase back to her before saying: "Don't say a f***ing word or I'll kill you."
She struggled and Todd responded by twisting her head so far she feared her neck would break.
She blacked out again.
"Then I woke back up, and let him finish what he was doing," Brittany told The New Yorker. "And his whole face changed, he was normal."
Todd then threatened to kill Brittany's family if she spoke out about the rape.
He then told Brittany that he wanted cigarettes and Brittany offered to call them a ride, since neither had a car.
She used the opportunity to call her mother, Ramona McCallie, trying to get the message through to her mother that something was wrong, speaking as her rapist held the phone.
Her mother thought it sounded as if her daughter had been crying and sent her son, Chris McCallie, around.
The trio headed for a local petrol station, where Brittany, in hushed tones, bravely revealed to the cashier what had happened while the two men sat in the car.
Brittany told The New Yorker that she made the cashier promise not to call the police but told her that if she was dead in the morning, it was Todd Smith that killed her.
When her brother dropped them back at her place, Brittany put her plan in action, telling him to go back to the petrol station and speak with the cashier.
When told him what happened, McCallie says he went "blank" and headed straight back to the house with a .22-calibre revolver that he kept in the vehicle.
McCallie confronted Todd, telling him to leave. When Todd, who was high on meth and other drugs, refused to leave the house McCallie put his gun down and tried to remove him.
Todd got McCallie in a headlock and began to choke him, saying he would kill him and Brittany.
She fired a shot.
When Todd failed to release her brother she fired two more rounds, then called 911.
"Someone just got shot at 211 Sharon Drive," Brittany told the operator. "Just have an ambulance come, please, because I don't want this man to die."
Brittany and her brother then performed CPR and when police arrived half an hour later, Todd was dead.
Despite a rape kit showing extensive bruising, evidence of strangulation and bite marks, within 48 hours Brittany was charged with murder.
SEXUAL HARM - DO YOU NEED HELP?
If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
If you've ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone contact Safe to Talk confidentially:
• Call 0800 044 334
• Text 4334
• Email firstname.lastname@example.org
• For more info or to web chat visit www.safetotalk.nz
Alternatively contact your local police station - click here for a list.