UPDATED: 01/07/18, 4:15PM
Cyntoia Denise Brown was just 16 years old when she was sentenced to life in prison for killing the man who bought her for sex. On January 7th, 2019, 15 years after her initial sentence, she was granted clemency by the Tennessee governor’s office.
In 2004, Brown killed Johnny Mitchell Allen who Brown alleged solicited her for sex. After he took the 16-year-old back to his house, Brown shot Allen in the head while he was sleeping, stole money and guns from his home, and fled. At the time prosecutors argued that the killing was motivated by robbery and not by self-defense.
A juvenile court found Brown competent to be tried as an adult and she was convicted of murder and robbery. The conviction came with a life sentence.
Brown’s case drew the attention of a number of celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, Amy Schumer and Ashley Judd.
The governor’s office released a statement calling the case “tragic and complex” and says that the decision to grant Brown clemency came “after careful consideration.”
They added that Browns initial life sentence that kept her from being eligible for parole until she served 51 years was “too harsh, especially in light of the extraordinary steps Ms. Brown has taken to rebuild her life.” They added, “Transformation should be accompanied by hope.”
The 30-year-old will be released to parole supervision on August 7th, 2019.