Cyntoia Brown is granted clemency after serving 15 years in prison for killing man who bought her for sex

Haslam, while granting clemency to Brown, said: 'This decision comes after careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case.'


                            Cyntoia Brown is granted clemency after serving 15 years in prison for killing man who bought her for sex

A woman from Tennessee, 30-year-old Cyntoia Brown, has been granted clemency by Governor Bill Haslam. Brown, at the age 16, began serving a life sentence for killing a man who hired her for sex. Haslam's clemency was granted after multiple celebrities, including reality TV star Kim Kardashian singer Rihanna and more, rallied for her release, according to reports. Brown was a victim herself, they said, and didn't deserve her punishment.

Brown, who has already served 14 years of her sentence in prison for the 2004 shooting, was granted full clemency on Monday and will be eligible for release in August. The 30-year-old had shot and killed a 43-year-old man, Johnny Allen from Nashville, when she was a prostitute and was ordered to serve 51 years in prison before being eligible for parole. 

Republican Governors Association Chairman and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam holds a news conference at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce February 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)
Republican Governors Association Chairman and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam holds a news conference at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce February 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

Governor Haslam, while granting clemency to Brown, said: "This decision comes after careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case."

Brown, who will be 31-years-old on her release in August, however, will remain on parole for 10 years. She will be required to participate in regular counseling sessions and to perform at least 50 hours of community service, including working with at-risk youth. She also will be required to get a job. Brown's attorneys said 15 years is a typical sentence for a second-degree murder conviction.

"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," the Governor said.



 

Prosecutors, at the time of her imprisonment, had argued that the teenager had killed the 43-year-old man in an attempt to rob him, however, her lawyers said that she was a sex-trafficking victim and feared for her life. Brown, during one of her hearings, said: "When I was 16 years old, I did a very horrible thing, and that has been with me for a very long time. He didn't deserve to die. I was wrong. I was wrong. And I can't fix it," according to the Daily Mail.

Kardashian, shortly after the news on Monday, thanked the Tennessee Governor and tweeted: "Thank you Governor Haslam." Haslam, while granting clemency to Brown, said: "This decision comes after careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case."



 

The 30-year-old, however, will remain on parole for 10 years. Brown had reportedly run away from home at the age of 16 and linked up with a man who eventually became her pimp. The two later became homeless and Brown was forced into prostitution by the man. Allen, in addition to trafficking the teenager, also beat and raped her on an almost daily basis, according to reports. 

Brown rebuilt her life in prison and obtained a college degree from Lipscomb University while serving her sentence. The 30-year-old, in a statement, on Monday said that she will do everything to justify Haslam's faith in her. 

"I am thankful for all the support, prayers, and encouragement I have received. We truly serve a God of second chances and new beginnings. The Lord has held my hand this whole time and I would have never made it without Him. Let today be a testament to His Saving Grace," she said.

"Thank you to my family for being a backbone these past 14 years. I am thankful to my lawyers and their staff, and all the others who, for the last decade have freely given of their time and expertise to help me get to this day."

"I love all of you and will be forever grateful. With God's help, I am committed to live the rest of my life helping others, especially young people. My hope is to help other young girls avoid ending up where I have been," Brown added.