Cyntoia Brown has been serving life in prison for the murder of a man who solicited her for sex back in 2004. Brown has now been granted clemency, with Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam ordering the release of the 30-year-old after nearly 15 years behind bars.
Cyntoia Brown was tried and convicted as an adult in 2006 for the murder of a Nashville estate agent, when she was only 16 years old, after he raped her. While prosecutors said it was a robbery, Brown said she was a victim of child sex-trafficking, who had to hit back in self defence.
Her case became well-known throughout the US, with a number of celebrities giving their support to Cyntoia Brown, including pop singer Rihanna, comedian Amy Schumer, reality TV personality Kim Kardashian West and NBA star LeBron James.
Brown’s story was also the subject of the 2011 documentary “Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story”. In the documentary, she relived the events of the night of the murder.
Cyntoia Brown was picked up in Nashville by Johnny Allen, a 43-year-old estate agent, who agreed to pay her $150 to have sex, before driving her to his home.
However, she said that once she reached Allen’s home, he groped her roughly before rolling over to reach the side of the bed. Ms. Brown said she feared he was going to get a gun, so in a quick act of self defence, she shot him.
Governor Haslam released a statement, saying he had ordered that Brown be released to parole supervision on August the 7th this year:
“Cyntoia Brown committed, by her own admission, a horrific crime at the age of 16,” the statement reads. “Yet, imposing a life sentence on a juvenile that would require her to serve at least 51 years before even being eligible for parole consideration is too harsh, especially in light of the extraordinary steps Ms Brown has taken to rebuild her life. Transformation should be accompanied by hope.”
Brown, who was able to gain an associate degree whilst serving her time, said she would do everything to justify Governor Haslam’s faith in her, after granting her clemency.
“I am thankful for all the support, prayers and encouragement I have received” Brown said in a statement. “We truly serve a God of second chances and new beginnings. The Lord has held my hands this whole time and I would never have made it without him.”
With all the ongoing support and her new outlook on life, we hope Cyntoia Brown will take this second chance and make the most of her time out of jail, once her time for release comes later this year, and can finally start afresh and eventually leave this ugly past behind her.
Story by Emily Clark
Featured Photo Credit: WKRN.com