Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee has granted clemency to Cyntoia Brown, a 30-year-old woman serving a life sentence for fatally shooting a man in 2004 who had hired her as a prostitute when she was a teenage sex trafficking victim. She was only 16 at the time.
Brown was sentenced to life in prison for murdering a Nashville man in 2004. She was 16 at the time.
Gov. Haslam said his decision to grant Brown clemency comes after “careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case.”
According to a release, Brown was trapped in prostitution and a victim of child sex trafficking at the time when she shot and killed Jimmy Allen. Allen picked up the then 16-year-old at the Sonic on Murfreesboro Pike and brought her home.
The two got into bed together and at some point, Brown killed Allen. She claimed self-defense, but prosecutors maintained that Brown killed the 43-year-old real estate agent in order to rob him.
Brown’s case gained national attention after celebrities like Kim Kardashian West, Gabrielle Union and Rihanna all showed their support for the young woman on social media.
While jailed, Brown has earned her associate degree through the Lipscomb LIFE program with a 4.0 GPA. She is also expected to earn her bachelor’s degree later this year.She thanks Governor Bill Haslam for her second chance.