In 2004, she was sentenced to life in connection with the killing of a 43-year-old man. When she was just 16, she was tried as an adult and convicted of first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, and aggravated robbery.
On Wednesday early morning, Cyntoia Brown was released from prison after being granted clemency in January by then-Tennessee Government Bill Haslamaccording to the Tennessee Department of Corrections, reports CNN. Brown was initially sentenced to life in prison for killing a man who allegedly bought her for sex when she was just 16-years-old. After spending around 15 years in jail, Brown was released on parole supervision. "I look forward to using my experiences to help other women and girls suffering abuse and exploitation," Brown said in a statement following her release.
Cyntoia Brown has been released after serving 15 years of what was a life sentence. She was granted clemency and today is free! All my love and blessings to our loved ones incarcerated. You deserve more. You deserve humanity. You deserve a life beyond brick. pic.twitter.com/xAE2usTobf— miriam (@vientoxsol) August 7, 2019
Her case is one that garnered a LOT of attention, from A-list lawyers, celebrities and high-profile lawmakers as well. Brown went to prison as a teenager and is coming out as an adult. She spent half of her life in prison. In 2004, she was sentenced to life in connection with the killing of a 43-year-old man. When she was just 16, she was tried as an adult and convicted of first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, and aggravated robbery.
Cyntoia Brown is finally free—but we can’t forget that she was denied justice for over 14 years. The words above the Supreme Court say "Equal Justice Under Law." We need to start acting like it, and that means standing up for survivors of sexual violence. https://t.co/qDKfSV8ZfP— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 7, 2019
Brown's sentence required her to serve at least 51 years in prison before she was eligible for parole. Brown, who is now 31, is now scheduled to be released from prison after serving 15 years! A lot of the controversy about her case came from what she said lead her to kill the man. Brown testified at her trial and said that at 16, she was impetrated for sex by Johnny Mitchell Allen, the victim.
Cyntoia Brown has been released from prison after serving 15 years of a life sentence for murdering a man who bought her for sex when she was just 16-years-old.— UberFacts (@UberFacts) August 7, 2019
According to her testament, he brought her back to his house, and she spotted a gun cabinet. Brown testified that she had been forced into prostitution by a pimp and resisted Allen. That's when she saw him reach for something under the bed and she truly believed that he was going to try and kill her. In self-defense, she reached for a gun in her purse and shot him, she testified.
Are we just not gonna mention Cyntoia Brown is released today! I mean I'm so happy for her! pic.twitter.com/OXmJ3nd6hY— Tyler Stan (@SadTylerStan) August 7, 2019
But, because she took his wallet after she shot him, the prosecution argued that she shot him in an attempt to rob him. Years after Brown's sentencing, her case became a widespread conversation on social media, which then inspired the viral hashtag #FreeCyntoiaBrown. Among those promoting her story and advocating for her release online were celebrities like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian West.
Imagine at the age of 16 being sex-trafficked by a pimp named 'cut-throat.' After days of being repeatedly drugged and raped by different men, you were purchased by a 43-year-old child predator who took you to his home to use you for sex. You end up finding enough courage to fight back and shoot and kill him. Your (sic) arrested as (sic) result tried and convicted as an adult and sentenced to life in prison. This is the story of Cyntoia Brown. She will be eligible for parole when she is 69 years old, shared Rihanna on social media.
Kim Kardashian West, who is also an advocate for criminal justice reform, praised the governor's decision to grant clemency. Thankfully, this is not the end of Brown's life. "I learned that my life was -- and is -- not over," Brown said in a documentary, "Me Facing Life: Cyntoia's Story." "I can create opportunities where I can actually help people." Brown received her associate degree from Lipscomb University in 2015, while she was in prison.
Also, according to Tennessean, she also obtained a bachelor's degree in the Tennessee Prison for Women in May. Brown, in collaboration with Tennessee's Juvenile Justice System, worked to help counsel young people at risk, and her supporters have only good and positive things to say about her, adding that she's been nothing but a model inmate during her imprisonment.
"She is light years today, as a woman, different from the traumatized 16-year-old that she was," Derri Smith, founder, and CEO of non-profit End Slavery Tennessee, said last January. "She's mentoring ... troubled youth, working on her college degree, she is planning a nonprofit so she can help other young people." However, Brown is not entirely a free woman. She will report to a parole officer regularly for the next ten years. She must have a job, perform community service and actively participate in counseling.