In 2006, Cyntoia Brown was convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery of Johnny Allen, a 43-year-old Nashville real estate agent. Her advocates said she was forced into prostitution by her abusive boyfriend, and killed Allen after he picked her up and took her to his home. She was 16 years old when she committed the crime.
On Monday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam granted full clemency to Brown, who had been serving a life sentence for the 2004 murder.
After serving 15 years in prison, Brown will be released on August 7 and will remain on parole for 10 years, Haslam announced, calling it a “tragic and complex case.”
In a statement through her lawyers Monday, Brown thanked the governor for his “act of mercy in giving me a second chance.”
“With God’s help, I am committed to live the rest of my life helping others, especially young people,” Brown said.
The life sentence meant she would not have been eligible for parole until she was in her 60s, which Haslam said was “too harsh, especially in light of the extraordinary steps Ms. Brown has taken to rebuild her life.”
“Transformation should be accompanied by hope,” Haslam said.
Brown’s story spread widely last fall amid the #MeToo movement and spurred the hashtag #FreeCyntoiaBrown. It garnered attention from celebrities, including Kim Kardashian, who highlighted the case to President Trump in a meeting last May over prison reform.