NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is granting clemency to Cyntoia Brown, a 30-year-old woman serving a life sentence in prison for a murder she committed at 16 years old.
Brown was convicted in 2004 for the murder of Johnny Allen, a 43-year-old real estate broker she claims was trafficking her for sex. She was tried as an adult in the case.
Brown wasn't going be eligible for release for another 51 years.
Her case caught the public’s attention thanks to a documentary, “Me Facing Life: The Cyntoia Brown Story,” and ignited a firestorm of support for Brown. Celebrities, including Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and LeBron James, have pushed for her clemency.
“This decision comes after careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case,” Haslam said. “Cyntoia Brown committed, by her own admission, a horrific crime at the age of 16. 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. So, I am commuting Ms. Brown’s sentence, subject to certain conditions.”
According to a news release, Brown’s parole conditions will require that she not violate any state or federal laws, and she will be subject to a release plan approved by the Tennessee Department of Correction and special supervision conditions, including employment, education, counseling, and community engagement requirements.
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